Buxton: Germany dominant but lacked delivery and depth
Our writer highlights four areas where Germany have fallen short
(Antoine Griezmann 45+2-pen, 72)
Having conquered world football, dominating Europe proved a step too far for Germany.
France will head into the Euro 2016 final on Monday morning (Singapore time), fuelled by the wave of hope from a jubilant host nation.
In essence, they are in the same position Joachim Loew's players occupied in Brazil just two years ago; reborn and on the cusp of an inevitable triumph.
Here's why Die Mannschaft's dream unravelled in Marseille yesterday morning.
1 Dominant yet dormant
As per football's age-old cliche, Germany did everything but score at the Stade Velodrome.
That near-total dominance of the first half left many scratching their heads as to how the world champions had headed into the interval a goal behind.
Scratch beneath the surface, however, and the true extent of their shortcomings is revealed.
Loew's players failed to truly threaten Hugo Lloris' goal from the 25th minute until the final whistle in Marseille.
Half-chances and appalling misses have been the narrative of Germany's continental campaign this summer.
As Antoine Griezmann strides to the Golden Boot, Thomas Mueller remained incapable of finding the target at the Finals while Mario Goetze, deputising in the absence of the injured Mario Gomez, was similarly off-key in front of goal.
Therein lies the key difference between France and Germany's Euro 2016 fortunes.
Didier Deschamp's side boasted an embarrassment of attacking riches while their vanquished opponents were heavily reliant on a misfiring two-man strikeforce.
It set the tone for a second half that allowed Les Bleus to make their advance north to Paris long before time was called on proceedings.
2 Lack of quality back-up in key areas
Attack was not the only department where Loew was sorely lacking quality in depth.
At full strength, there had not been a better team at the Finals.
The impact of Mats Hummels' suspension was largely contained by a deputising Benedikt Howedes but compounded by Jerome Boateng's withdrawal.
In his place, Shkodran Mustafi proved a pale imitation, and his presence coincided with a series of error-strewn passes and moments. At both ends, the Valencia defender proved a liability for his country.
Spurning a gilt-edged chance late in the game, he also gifted Paul Pogba an easy route to tee up Griezmann for France's second of the evening.
He was, of course, not alone in that respect.
Howedes' uncharacteristic pass to Joshua Kimmich deep in Manuel Neuer's penalty area set the wheels in motion for the final nail in their hopes of reaching the final.
Pale imitations rather than proven quality has been symptomatic of the problems which led to Germany's Euro 2016 ills.
3 A step too far for old heads
Contemplation will be the order of business for German football, with several old heads set to consider their future on the international stage on the back of this defeat.
Loew is likely to be among them. For the World Cup-winning coach, as it proved for Vicente del Bosque and Spain, this tournament was a step too far.
Whether the 56-year-old falls admirably on his sword or continues with qualification plans for the 2018 World Cup remains to be seen, but the latter may threaten to tarnish the legacy of his previous decade in charge.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, too, admitted that he needs time to "take a step back" after a summer dogged by questions about his powers of on-field longevity.
That the veteran Manchester United midfielder made it through 79 minutes before yielding to Leroy Sane was a symbol of defiance to the doubters.
But his attempt at heroism in handling a goal-bound effort that gifted France the lead, on an evening when he became the most capped player at European tournaments, proved the unravelling of Germany's bid for double glory.
Those doubts over the 31-year-old will continue to linger, just as they will for Loew, in the weeks and months to follow.
For both pillars of German football, the best course of action is to bow out with their stock still relatively high.
4 Over-reliance also proves costly
Germany's fortunes were largely dependent on the fortune of their spine.
Mueller's prolfigacy aside, there was little faulting Die Mannschaft's approach throughout the tournament, but that expectancy of key figures finally buckled.
Neuer had become the impenetrable wall from open play, with Griezmann's second of the evening constituting his first conceded at the Finals, but even he appeared erratic after the rigours of the previous six weeks.
The Bayern Munich goalkeeper's decision to abandon position to meekly clear Pogba's cross culminated in France doubling their advantage.
An overall dependency on Toni Kroos to both inspire and negotiate against relentless opposition such France and Italy also crumbled.
Holding and breaking up play is one thing, but expecting miracles from the midfielder when his teammates were at odds with themselves, was always destined to have an unhappy ending for both the Real Madrid man and Germany.
I would say we missed Mario Gomez most. We did not do a bad job defensively, you always concede a few chances — you can’t prevent that, but we were lacking someone who scored.
- Germany defender Mats Hummels
Germany missed striker Gomez, say fans
They were in high spirits before kick-off.
Around 170 fans turned up at Brotzeit Bar at Raffles City to watch the Euro 2016 semi-final clash between hosts France and world champions Germany yesterday morning (Singapore time).
The majority of the fans were German supporters who showed up decked out in their national jersey.
They let out screams and cheers when the match started, confident that Joachim Loew's men would contuinue the proud record against the French.
Les Bleus had not beaten Die Mannschaft in a major tournament since 1958.
The decibels were raised as the Germans dominated in the first half, mounting wave after wave of attack.
But they were made to pay for a lack of cutting edge in front of goal as France were awarded a controversial penalty at the end of the first half after Bastian Schweinsteiger looked to have handled the ball in the box during an aerial challenge with Patrice Evra.
Antoine Griezmann stepped up to calmly score the spot-kick, which shocked and infuriated the Germans fans in the bar.
"Initially, we were all furious by the referee's decision to award the penalty but, when we saw the replays, it looked like the correct decision," said Marcus Zylajew, a 41-year-old kitchen sales manager.
"But still, it was very unlucky for Germany.
"We dominated the game, but somehow we failed to score and, in football, you get punished for that."
Things got worse for Germany after the break when Griezmann scored his and France's second in the 72nd minute to end the hopes of the German fans.
"I think Germany really missed Mario Gomez," lamented a despondent Zylajew.
"We had a lot of possession, but we didn't have someone who can deliver the final touch and score the goals for us.