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Euro 2016: France tops Ireland, 2-1, in round of 16

France's Antoine Griezmann, right, is tackled by Ireland's

France's Antoine Griezmann, right, is tackled by Ireland's Seamus Coleman during the Euro 2016 round of 16 soccer match between France and Ireland, at the Grand Stade in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon, France, Sunday, June 26, 2016. Credit: AP/ Laurent Cipriani

LYON, France — Antoine Griezmann scored two goals in quick succession early in the second half Sunday to give host France a 2-1 victory over a spirited Ireland and a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals.

Griezmann, who had a chance for a hat trick late in the match, equalized with a powerful header from near the penalty spot in the 58th minute following a cross from right back Bacary Sagna.

Three minutes later, he collected a headed knockdown from striker Olivier Giroud, took one touch to move the ball inside the area and then composed himself before slotting the ball inside the right post. It was his third goal of the tournament and his 10th for Les Bleus.

The goals came with France trailing 1-0 after Ireland midfielder Robbie Brady’s second-minute penalty.

“We screamed at each other at halftime,” Griezmann said. “We were chasing the game and that’s the most difficult thing. But we have a strong mentality.”

The goals were a boost for Griezmann, who missed a penalty for Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final loss to Real Madrid last month.

“I know myself well,” Griezmann said. “I know that I show up in the big moments.”

Griezmann nearly got a third goal in injury time but Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph made the save.

A few minutes later, Ireland slumped to the ground in exhaustion as France celebrated.

“The fans were unbelievable and we’d have loved to have gone a bit further for them. I hope we did them proud,” Ireland defender Seamus Coleman said. “We only had a little corner of the ground and they were so loud and positive at the end.”

The Irish finished the match with 10 men following defender Shane Duffy’s red card in the 66th minute for tripping Griezmann.

France will next face either England or Iceland on Sunday in Saint-Denis.

“We can relax on our sofas and see who we’re playing next,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “We were a bit tense and the Irish played very well.”

It was the first meeting between the two sides since Ireland lost a World Cup playoff to France in November 2009 following a blatant handball by forward Thierry Henry.

Relieved French fans inside the 58-000-seat Stade de Lyon broke out into a rendition of “La Marseillaise” — the national anthem — after the match, but they were not quite so vocal in a tense first half.

On Ireland’s first foray forward, France center half Adil Rami was hesitant and then caught out of position, slipping as he failed to deal with a cross from the left aimed for striker Daryl Murphy. As the loose ball caused confusion, France midfielder Paul Pogba came across striker Shane Long and knocked him over.

Brady, who scored late in Ireland’s win over Italy, stroked home the penalty off the inside of the right post for the second fastest goal in the history of the competition.

It was the second penalty France has conceded at Euro 2016, and the tension seemed to be getting to the players.

Midfielder N’Golo Kante picked up a yellow card for tripping midfielder James McClean, center half Laurent Koscielny collided into the back of Kante as he went for a header, and Pogba tried to rally his team but ended up catching Ireland midfielder Jeff Hendrick on the knee.

Both Rami and Kante picked up yellow cards and will miss the next match.

New York Sports