‘Handball’ for Thierry is ‘armed robbery’ for Eamon

Antoine Griezmann, the glue that makes everything tick, seals it for the host nation

France’s Antoine Griezmann, center, celebrates with his team-mate Olivier Giroud and Moussa Sissoko after scoring his side’s second goal against Germany. Photograph: Frank Augstein/AP Photo

France’s Antoine Griezmann, center, celebrates with his team-mate Olivier Giroud and Moussa Sissoko after scoring his side’s second goal against Germany. Photograph: Frank Augstein/AP Photo

 

Well, that was a treat. While it was highly lovely seeing the little teams do their plucky thing, this here encounter was a case of: now we’re whistling.

And there hadn’t been all that many Euro 2016 games thus far when you hoped the ref would lose his whistle so it would go on all night. Indeed, if the clock moved as slowly as Olivier Giroud did that time when he set off towards goal, the game would still be going on Monday afternoon. And that wouldn’t have been a bad thing at all.

The BBC tried to get us in the mood by teaching us some German phrases that were largely related to sausages, like you do (‘He’s playing the insulted sausage’, ‘Everything has an end but only the sausage has two’), which left Rio Ferdinand looking suitably dumbfounded, while RTÉ mainly focused on filleting Patrice Evra.

Worse than weak

“He’s worse than weak, Darragh,” Gilesie sighed, while Dunphy put the “bad lad” through the shredder, although in saluting Paul Pogba’s achievements at Juventus he noted that the club “don’t have any mugs playing for them”, which hinted at a détente in his relationship with Evra, he being of, well, Juventus.

But. “I think they’ll pay for Evra tonight, I think it’s going to blow up in Deschamps’ face, that’s my rational thought,” he added, the absence of N’Golo Kante from the French line-up leaving him choking on his mon dieus and reconsidering his earlier hunch that France would prevail.

After a positive enough start, during which metaphor-mangler Martin Keown hailed Antoine Griezmann as “the glue that makes everything tick”, France found themselves pummelled.

But then without even telling us, the ref gave France a penalty. The glue that makes everything tick converted and it was hard to tell who was more gobsmacked by the half-time scoreline, the hosts, Jogi’s lads or Ronnie Whelan.

Time for a heated debate about the penalty, Thierry Henry declaring it to be a “definite handball”, and if anyone knows anything about definite handballs . . .

Alan Shearer looked at it differently, reckoning Bastian Schweinsteiger was just trying to shield his face from Evra’s elbow, a kind of a life-preserving gesture, an observation that his colleagues chuckling almost as hard as when he suggested Giroud lacked pace.

Football was wrong

Back on RTÉ, they couldn’t believe what they had seen. “If France get away with this, it’ll be worse than an armed robbery,” said Eamon, Evra being part of a rearguard that had managed to keep the Germans scoreless possibly leaving him concluding that everything he ever knew about football was wrong.

Second half and the glue that makes everything tick did it again, this time after rather splendid work by Pogba. Gilesie was so impressed, he called him Drogba.

The sight of them looking a little panicked and desperate was not one with which tournament watchers are overly familiar. Julian Draxler came close enough with a free-kick, as eagle-eyed Ronnie put it, “if that’s inside the post it’s a goal”. True.

Le whistle final. Everything has an end but only the sausage has two, the two being France and Portugal, our finalists. If it’s as tasty as our second semi-final, we’ll be whistling again.

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