Griezmann scores both goals as France beats Germany 2-1

PARIS (AP) — Antoine Griezmann got the better of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer once again, scoring both goals as France rallied to beat Germany 2-1 in the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday.

Midfielder Toni Kroos gave Germany the lead from the penalty spot after 14 minutes and the visitors had chances to go further ahead before Griezmann equalized with a superb header in the 62nd.

Griezmann showed perfect timing to meet Atletico Madrid teammate Lucas Hernandez’s cross from the left with a glancing header which looped over Neuer’s outstretched hand.

With 10 minutes left, Griezmann coolly put France ahead with a penalty for his 26th international goal. He sent Neuer the wrong way, having also done so in the European Championship semifinals two years ago — when Griezmann also scored twice.

World Cup star Kylian Mbappe’s pass led to Griezmann’s penalty. He picked out midfielder Blaise Matuidi’s run and center half Mats Hummels was adjudged to have impeded Matuidi, although there was no video review available to the referee and contact appeared minimal.

The win moved World Cup winner France top of Group 1 in the top-tier League A, while Germany is last with only one point.

It is the first time Germany has lost two consecutive competitive matches since 2000 — but France’s win was tougher than expected.

“The first half was difficult. Tactically speaking, we weren’t making enough effort for one another,” Griezmann said. “We spoke about it calmly during the break. We became world champions because we played for one another.”

Germany’s confidence has taken a bashing since its group stage exit at the World Cup as defending champion and two unconvincing performances in the Nations League — a 0-0 home draw against France and a 3-0 loss away to the Netherlands last Saturday.

Coach Joachim Loew tried a more adventurous formation, bringing in pacey wingers Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane. With left back Nico Schulz also pushing up regularly, France was completely stretched at times in the first half.

“Losing always feels bad, especially after leading and feeling in control. That’s bitter,” Neuer said. “We played bravely, like we were the team that had won 3-0 in Holland.”

The opening goal came after France midfielder Paul Pogba carelessly lost the ball and Germany broke quickly. Sane’s low cross drew a penalty when it hit the arm of defender Presnel Kimpembe — who again looked vulnerable following a poor performance in a 2-2 draw against Iceland in a friendly last Thursday.

But just like against Iceland, France had the last word.

Loew praised France’s match-winning ability and felt encouraged despite Germany’s sixth defeat of the year.

“We were absolutely on a par with the world champions,” he said. “France’s individual class is incredible; they scored two goals out of virtually nothing. It was a very good reaction after the Netherlands game.”

The 80,000-crowd at Stade de France was mostly quiet during an impressive first half from the Germans.

After Kroos slotted his penalty away into the right corner, he could easily have been celebrating another goal in the 20th.

The fact he wasn’t was no fault of his own.

Sane again used his pace to pull clear down the right, but fluffed an easy pass to Kroos, who was totally unmarked near the penalty spot.

France’s main threat came from the 19-year-old Mbappe. He saved France with a last-gasp penalty against Iceland and almost reached Griezmann’s astute pass over the top near the end of the first half.

Early in the second half, Mbappe burst away from the sluggish Hummels, but shot instead of dribbling past Neuer and the agile goalie blocked it with his left leg.

Moments later, Schulz found Sane down the left but he skewed his shot wide — which proved the turning point as France took control.

France plays the Netherlands in Rotterdam on Nov. 16 and the Germans host the Dutch three days later in the final group games.

Source: Fox Sports

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