After a long afternoon in Lyon for Les Bleus, they finally managed to defeat Ireland to send them through to the quarter finals to face either England or Iceland, but who were the key men for France today? Tom Scholes takes a look at the individual performances for today’s Euro 2016 victory.
Hugo Lloris: 7
The record breaking captain had very little to do in the second half, but in the first half he managed to keep France in the game a number of times. He was dominant from set pieces, and was able to tip a few efforts away from danger, including a crucial save on McClean in the second half.
Bacary Sagna: 6
Similarly to most players today, Sagna had a turbulent first half where he wasn’t at his best and was caught out on a few counter attacks. However, he did provide the cross for Antoine Griezmann’s opening goal, and was a threat down the right hand side in the second half alongside Kingsley Coman.
Adil Rami: 4
For most teams, having one half of their centre back partnership out suspended for the quarter final of a European Championships is a disaster, but they’ve never had Adil Rami in their side! He grew more into the game during the second half, but in the first 45 minutes he was dreadful.
He missed multiple headers, lost his footing on more than one occasion, and just didn’t look very comfortable on the ball. I think all France fans will be hoping for an appearance from Samuel Umtiti next game.
Laurent Koscielny: 5
Not his best game, but the Arsenal man was solid enough to restrict the Irish to just the solitary goal. He bailed Rami out on multiple occasions, and was solid during the second half when called upon. Good enough, but may be caught out by better teams.
Patrice Evra: 5
Basically the same as Sagna, with the Juve man being poor first half, and improving during the second half. He isn’t what he used to be in his prime at Manchester United, but he always seems to be good enough for international football. Similarly to Koscielny, he could be suspect against quicker teams in attack.
N’Golo Kante: 5
The Leicester man had a usually poor game this afternoon, with his booking ruling him out of the quarterfinal. He didn’t seem to be up to his usual standard today, and after being replaced by Kingsley Coman, the game turned on his head after Kante left the field.
Blaise Matuidi: 6
In the first half next to Kante, Matuidi seemed restricted and not his PSG self, but once Kante left the field Matuidi opened up and started to express him a lot more frequently. He pushed forward with purpose, and actually looks better without Kante in the side. Maybe with Kante missing for the next game, Matuidi could be his replacement?
Paul Pogba: 6
Again, another player who opened up once Kante left the field. I have no idea why, but Pogba started to run the game a bit more in the second half once Kante was hauled off and was a huge part in France upping the tempo a bit more. We are still yet to see the true Pogba at this European Championships, but even if it is just minimal contribution, it still helps the team.
Antoine Griezmann: 8
His double won the game for Les Bleus, and was the best player in the second half for the host nation. Griezmann suffered with the slow tempo and lack of clear-cut chances in the first half, but once the game opened up he came out of his shell and scored two wonderful goals. He seems to have struck up a great partnership with Olivier Giroud that hopefully can continue for the rest of the tournament.
Dimitri Payet: 6
Not the West Ham man’s best game, Payet seemed out of the game and out of the action throughout. We all know how good Payet can be, but today just wasn’t his day. His deliveries from dead balls were his greatest contribution to the game, but it wasn’t enough to put his trademark Payet stamp on proceedings.
Olivier Giroud: 6
Giroud wasn’t on top form during the first half, but that was mainly due to the fact he wasn’t exactly given the best balls from his teammates. As the second half started, Giroud received better service, and was able to bring others into play, shown perfectly for the second goal with his wonderful knockdown. Hopefully he can play like that from the first whistle in the next game.
Kingsley Coman: 6
Coman came on at half time for the already yellow-carded N’Golo Kante, and was such a huge factor in the tide changing in this game. His pace was a constant threat to a slow Irish defence, and he was able to give the strikers a better chance at finding the back of the net. Surely a contender for starting in the quarterfinal?
Andre Pierre-Gignac: 5
Gignac was only one for the brief period of time, but he found himself in good positions, and could have had himself a hat trick. Gignac crashed a shot against the cross bar, and should’ve buried two easier chances late on in the game. He’s certainly proved that he can be useful late on in games when the game needs changing.
Moussa Sissoko wasn’t on the pitch long enough to make an impact.