Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Griezmann at the double as France clip Germany 2-1

Published:Wednesday | October 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM
France's N'Golo Kante runs with the ball while Germany's Leroy Sane lays on the pitch during the UEFA Nations League match between France and Germany at Stade de France stadium in Paris yesterday.
France's Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring his side's second goal during a UEFA Nations League match against Germany at Stade de France stadium Paris.
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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 yesterday.

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 equalised 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 semi-finals 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 centre 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 winners France top of Group 1 in the top-tier League A, while Germany are last with only one point.

It is the first time the Germans have 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 their group stage exit at the World Cup as defending champions 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 were 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.