Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny put in arguably his best game at the European Championships thus far as his side France advanced to the quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over the Republic of Ireland.
Martin O’Neil’s side reached the knockout stages as one of the best third-placed sides as a late Robbie Brady goal defeated Italy 1-0, and it was the Norwich City man who got Ireland off to a flyer against France.
After Paul Pogba fouled Shane Long in the area after just two minutes, Brady silenced the home side by putting the Irish ahead from the spot before France replied in the second period through Antione Griezmann.
The Atletico Madrid man will no doubt receive all the plaudits for his two goals, yet it was Koscielny at the back who was arguably the game’s outstanding player as he restricted Ireland to so few clear chances.
8/8 - L. Koscielny (v #IRL) contested more duels with a 100% success rate than any other player in a game at Euro 2016 (8/8). Strong.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) 26 de junio de 2016
The Gunners’ centre-back won all eight of his defensive duels, and as such became the first man at the European Championships thus far to boast a 100% success rate in this category.
Arsenal have often been criticised for their slack defending, yet it is usually Per Mertesacker or Gabriel Paulista who come into question as without doubt Koscielny is a class above them both.
The former Lorient man has been a pivotal figure for the North London club at times, and France will be hoping he can maintain his good form as Les Blues enter the latter stages of the competition.
Didier Deschamps’ side’s victory sees them progress to the quarter-finals where they will play either the competition’s underdogs Iceland or England who are to meet at Nice’s Allianz Riviera on Monday.