With the score 1-0 to France at the interval, thanks to a contentious penalty decision, most scribes were readying themselves to spare the hosts no mercy over an undeserved result. Instead, Les Bleus not only made that margin stand up but improved on it, turning in an increasingly dynamic performance.
Antoine Griezmann’s brace was the story of the match, the Atletico player having fully shaken off his group stage sluggishness, but most in the France squad stepped up when needed this evening, capping a well-merited run to Sunday’s final.
Hugo Lloris – 7.5
A fine evening from the Tottenham ‘keeper, pulling off a handful of stunning reflex saves and also marshaling his area well at set pieces. Continues to improve for club and country, even as he approaches 30.
Bacary Sagna – 5.5
Often ceded possession too easily, especially in the first half, but improved as the match wore on. Offered little going forward, but did his job well enough to allow Sissoko to switch flanks, often leaving Draxler frustrated.
Laurent Koscielny – 6.5
Magnificent in the air, the Arsenal centre back’s energy did much in the early going to provide confidence for Umtiti. On this evidence, France have perhaps found their centre back partnership for World Cup 2018.
Samuel Umtiti – 6.5
Looked nervous in the match’s opening stages, but certainly became more assured as the match wore on. Delivered several impressive clearances, including a pair of overhead kicks that flirted with dangers.
Patrice Evra – 6
Anonymous at the match’s outset, but grew in confidence, providing several fine overlapping runs and one-touch passing. Like Sagna, was tasked with playing very narrowly at the back, which naturally limited his influence in attack.
Paul Pogba – 6.5
The step-over and cross for the second goal is the stuff GIF makers dream of, but Pogba’s influence, particularly in attack was not at his usual level. That said, his discipline in a more defensive role was impressive, revealing a growing maturity.
Blaise Matuidi – 6
Delivered his usual energy-filled performance, showing none of the fatigue that had plagued him earlier in the tournament. Could’ve gotten forward more effectively, but still a relatively solid showing.
Moussa Sissoko – 6.5
Much as he had against Switzerland, Sissoko’s energy was the beating heart of France’s tactical plan, swapping flanks with Payet several times to help provide cover for Evra. His passing in the final third was often poor, but did well to limit the dangerous Draxler.
Antoine Griezmann – 8
Looks revitalized after a torpid start to the competition, showing no hesitation to drop deep to get the ball, working hard to not be isolated. A sublime penalty and an opportunistic second, one might quibble with a needless booking, but a thorough turnaround from being dropped in the group stages.
Dimitri Payet – 5.5
A menace at the outset, his influence waned as he was asked to do more defensive work as France moved to a 4-4-1-1. Set pieces were better than they have been, not his best night but showed a needed willingness to be a team player.
Olivier Giroud – 5.5
Had his moments, but offered little in terms of passing or pressure; it was too easy for Boateng to spring forward out of defense. One decent layoff for Griezmann, but showed on the whole why there are still reservations about his abilities.
N’Golo Kante – 6
Did what he was asked to do in shutting down German attack, providing a solid shield in front of the back four, leading the team in tackles despite only playing 20-odd minutes.
Andre-Pierre Gignac – 4.5
Probably France’s worst player, the former Marseille man failed to make an impact at his old stomping ground. Has had every opportunity to displace Giroud, but poor link-up play and a middling first touch were once again his undoing.
Yohan Cabaye n/a
A stoppage-time substitute for Griezmann.