The French were shocked to see their team concede the fastest penalty in European Championship, but were able to lift their heads high after Griezmann scored an early double in the second half which won France the game.Here are five takeaways from the game :
1) Dedicated France put up their best performance
With 24 shots, 60% possession and 2 goals, the French stepped up their game after conceding an early goal. These were the first sights of how France can dominate matches and go all the way to win it on their home soil. The hosts scored twice within the span of 3 minutes and were cruising through after a slow start. Defence improvement is definitely required by France, but their attack was in top form against Ireland and they kept forcing saves out of Randolph, the Irish goalkeeper.
2)Antoine Griezmann, the target man
The Atletico Madrid forward rose to the occasion, and was at the right place at the right time to put the ball past Randolph twice in quick successions. He first headed a cross put in by the Manchester City right-back Sagna, and then finished off a chance created by Arsenal striker Giroud by calmly placing the ball into the bottom right corner. He was involved in most of the attacks and came close to completing a hat trick towards the end of 90 minutes.
3)Positives for Republic of Ireland
Robbie Brady sent Ireland into dreamland within 2 minutes of kick-off after scoring a fantastic penalty, sending Lloris diving to the wrong end. Ireland went on to be the team with a quick start, and created a couple more chances early on in the game. The Irish showed great will in wanting to advance further in the tournament and it shows that this is not the end of road for Ireland. They will be back stronger and with more experience to give a stronger fight in the upcoming years.
4)Where Republic of Ireland went wrong
Despite the motivational first 20 minutes, Ireland gradually started to lack the same levels of work rate and France took full advantage of that. Ireland eventually got dominated by France as they struggled to build an attack, or even maintain possession. After the start of second half, they also lacked the same level of concentration and an unmarked Griezmann scored with his head. The lack in concentration can be further seen as Griezmann went onto score his second within 3 minutes of his first. Ireland were also reduced to 10 men at the 66th minute, just 5 minutes after falling behind 2-1 as the Irish last man Shane Duffy brought down Griezmann to prevent him from getting his hattrick.
5)Moments of insanity : Kante and Rami
French players N’golo Kante and Adil Rami, both had moments in the first half which they will surely regret. Kante received a yellow card on the 27th minute while Rami received one on the 44th minute, and as a consequence they will be missing the next game against the winner of England vs Iceland. This can in no ways be ignored by France, who already face a severe problem of injuries for the centre back position with Laporte and Varane missing out on the squad. Kante has been an asset for France as well, winning possession and putting in one of the highest work rates.