The chances of a miracle happening were very high as the flawless performance was the outcome of intelligence, creativity and technical excellence and not just pure determination. This is what exactly happened in France vs. Ireland match. Under the soaring Lyon sun, Ireland played accurate counter attacking football. Perhaps after the bitter taste of defeat is gone, they would like to recall the 55th minute of this match. It was at this very minute when Robbie Brady steered a strong pass across the French midfield to Murphy, who took the pass with the inside of his heel and then navigated it to James McClean. James drove in the cross which Lloris palmed athletically and skilfully away.
FRANCE VS. REPUBLIC OF IRELAND, EURO 2016
France encountered a substantial contingent of English Championship. The so called lesser players (French) who led through a second minute penalty, finally made it a meeting of equals for so long. The real match begun after all this drama. Football’s minute margins then revealed themselves. In a matter of mere nine minutes, the entire course of the afternoon and thus the match, altered. By the end, Ireland was listing desperately. It was ready to face the shocking end of the match. A Bacary Sagna leader found Antoine unmarked to head for an equaliser. Two remarkable men- Shane Duffy and Stephen Ward- followed a pathetically long ball towards Oliver Giroud. As a result, Greizmann was left free to receive the knock down header. He thus made a score yet again. At this, Ward was clearly disappointed with Duffy for desolating Greizmann. Duffy suffered a greater misery. Chasing Antoine towards the penalty area, he bought him down with a challenge he had to make. He was now sent off.
FRANCE VS. REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Earlier France had promised that it would make a comeback with this match. And we can see that it was true to its word. They struck at ten men again and again to deliver a result for which Didier Deschamps takes much of the credit (not that he openly accepts this). The introduction of Kingsley Coman for N’Golo Kante in a reshaped formation of 4-3-2-1 completely altered the course of the match. This helped France to finally match and cut through the indefeatable Irish midfield. Andre-Pierre curled a shot onto the ba. Greizmann, who played a crucial part, drew sharp saves twice from Randolph. But obviously we cannot ignore the huge contribution of Randolph in this match.
Koscienly made a slip in central defence. This was that lone one area for which the French team was greatly concerned. As a result of this slip, the ball fell to Long. Pogba then ran behind him but the placement of his legs was a big issue. Long was waiting for the contact which would ultimately lead to a penalty. This happened 65 seconds into the match. Pogba vehemently shook his head but could definitely not complain. Finally, Brady stepped up and snapped a penalty against the inside of right hand post. French were frenzied just like Pogba but Ireland maintained their stance. Brady worked between the attack and midfield lines. The very physical presence of Murphy spread pandemonium across the French defence as Ireland was repeatedly pumping long balls in there. Hendrick helped stall the French engine. He will one day look back to realise how he became the pantomime villain, when a kick to thigh which completely dead legged him required urgent medical attention. The French assumed it was a simple delaying tactic.
Ireland had earlier sung that they would definitely defeat the French. But clearly the luck did not favor them and ultimately France turned out to be victorious.