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France coach Deschamps 'proud of players'
Didier Deschamps spoke on Thursday of his pride as his France side reached the final of Euro 2016. Antoine Griezmann scored both goals enabling France to beat Germany for the first time in a competitive match in 58 years.
"It's been a while since France beat Germany but ultimately it doesn't mean anything yet," said Deschamps, who skippered France to the 1998 World Cup and the Euro 2000 titles. "We've made it into the final but there is a trophy up for grabs on Sunday against Portugal.
"Beating Germany is great and I'm delighted for the players because it was a very tough game against a team that made us suffer. But we sufffered together. I'm very proud."
France were under the cosh for the first 30 minutes as Germany made light of the absences of striker Mario Gomez and midfielder Sami Khedira. With France's Paul Pogba a mere shadow in the light of Germany playmaker Toni Kroos, a German goal appeared imminent.
But the longer it failed to materialise, the more France grew in the belief that they might not be steamrollered.
After the flair, the flakiness
In a mirror image of so many of the previous encounters between the two sides, after all the flair, the flakiness. Germany skipper Bastien Schweinsteiger handled in the penalty area in first-half stoppage time and Griezmann dispatched the spot kick past Manuel Neuer.
Neuer uncharacteristically spilled a cross that allowed Griezmann to prod in the second 18 minutes from time.
"I'll speak to the players and coaching staff when we look at the tournament," said Germany coach Joachim Loew. "There will be a relatively short analysis of the tournament, as I didn't see that we made many mistakes."
French go German
After so many attempts at trying to win in the French manner - élan, flamboyance and layers of panache - the French had become suffused with a Teutonic hue - thorough, obdurate and clinical. Even the local hero had a German-sounding name.
"Antoine is a great player and he proved that again against Germany," said Deschamps. "He works very hard and along with Olivier Giroud from a defensive perspective, he made sure we were a very compact unit. But then he has speed and technical ability. He is very important for us just as he has been with Atletico Madrid during the past season.
"At the Euros he has been a crucial player. He has been scoring goals and he has been able to set up team mates and he gets the other players around him playing very well."
To read our coverage of the Euro 2016 click here