Soon, that unending desire to control the game by possession will be a thing of the past (and Jose Mourinho will be grinning like a Cheshire cat). Leicester City showed in the just-gone-by Premier League season how overrated possession is, while Antoine Griezmann's Atletico Madrid beat both Barcelona and Bayern Munich – in the quarterfinals and semifinals of the Champions League respectively – without seeing anywhere near as much of the ball. Possession and control of the game, after all, is useless without cutting edge, and the more possession you have, the more predictable you seem to get these days with your attacks.
In Marseille, Germany had 65% of the possession overall – first half it was 64% -- and yet, it was France who marched into the final with a 2-0 win. Griezmann efficiently converted a penalty just before halftime, before completing his brace on 72 minutes to end France's German pain and take the hosts into the final of Euro 2016.
Here, in the first half, France were in danger of falling a goal, or more, down to Germany. But, for all the possession and all the half chances created, there was never that one moment when you were forced out of your seat with the thought "Oh man, how did he miss that!"
Germany, without a proper central striker, struggled to carve out full-fledged chances and after failing to take the lead as the first half clock wound down, France landed a big blow right before halftime, a blow they never could recover from.
"We were the better team," Germany manager Joachim Low said. "We put in a lot of effort, showed good body language, got forward and were good in our individual battles. We were unfortunate to concede a penalty a minute before halftime, that was bad luck.
"We had our chances but didn't score. Today we didn't have the luck. Today we were better than the French but for the goals and result."
However, in football all that matters are the goals and the result – and looking back at this match 20 years down the line, all most will see is that France beat Germany 2-0, with the hosts keeping a cleansheet. The dominance on the ball will not matter; the chances missed will not; only the result will, a result which now puts France within a win of lifting the Euro 2016 title on home soil.
The result might have well been different had Mario Gomez been fit for Germany. The world champions have looked like a much better unit going forward with Gomez, the only true No.9 in the squad, in the lineup. However, after a hamstring injury ended his tournament, Low was left with few choices. He went for Thomas Muller up front, and while there were a few scary(ish) moments for France in the first half, the goal never came for Germany.
Muller seems to be two different players in the World Cup and European Championships. While goals come easily in World Cups for the Bayern Munich man, he is yet to score a single one in any of the Euros. So, without a man to link up play, hold the ball and allow the playmakers to do their bits and make the runs, Germany ran out of ideas, with Hugo Lloris tested most from long-range efforts and setpieces.
"There were injured players, (Sami) Khedira and Gomez, (Mats) Hummels was suspended and (Jerome) Boateng went off injured – they're hard players to replace," Low added. "The side did everything I told them, showed a lot of courage, so there's nothing to reproach them for."
The loss will hurt quite a bit, though, because Germany will know this was a virtual final – the winner of this match was always going to go into the final against Portugal as the heavy favourites.
Low has no doubts about who will win the title now.
"France have succeeded in getting to the final – if you win 2-0 you deserve it," Low said. "I think France will win against Portugal, Portugal haven't convinced me that much so far."