France vs Ireland – Tactical report

France got its first scare of the tournament as it came from behind to beat Ireland 2-1, inspired by an Antoine Griezmann brace.

France got its first scare of the tournament as it came from behind to beat Ireland 2-1, inspired by an Antoine Griezmann brace.

The Irish got off to the perfect start, leading in the second minute, as Robbie Brady converted a penalty after Shane Long was fouled in the box.

However, France had enough firepower, and three extra days of rest, as Griezmann scored two in the space of four minutes to ensure the host’s passage to a potential quarterfinal against England.

The first half was even-stevens with Ireland not sitting back after taking the early shock lead.

Lining up in a classic 4-4-2 with Daryl Murphy and Shane Long up front, Ireland was not outplayed by the glitzy French midfield.

Midfielder James McCarthy was instrumental in the first half, playing neat accurate passes, and he was difficult to dispossess. James McClean on the left flank was troubling France’s Bacary Sagna as he made regular inroads into the French half. Ireland did create a few chances, even forcing France ‘keeper Hugo Lloris to a point-blank save.

France lining up in the tried and tested 4-3-3 with Payet, Grioud and Girezmann in attack, couldn’t muster enough to trouble its opponent and it ended 1-0 to Ireland as the half-time whistle blew.

Like a classic tale of two halves, the second period narrated a different story altogether.

France coach Didier Deschamps threw in speedy winger Kingsley Coman for N'Golo Kante and changed the structure to a 4-4-2 with Griezmann and Giroud up top. That made all the difference as Coman used his pace to trouble the tiring Irish defence. Griezmann finally nullified Ireland’s lead in the 57th minute, nodding home a perfect Sagna cross from the right.

And that opened up the floodgates as Griezmann added to his tally four minutes later. A long ball forward found Giroud, who dragged two defenders out of the way, and his nod down is perfectly played to Griezmann who duly finished from 10 yards out.

While Ireland was toe-to-toe with the host nation in the first half, it fizzled out in the second half as it couldn’t cope with the sustained French pressure. The Irish cracked on 66 minutes as Shane Duff was sent off for a professional foul on Griezmann and there was no coming back from that.