Antoine Griezmann broke Ireland’s hearts with a second-half double to knock Martin O’Neil’s side out of Euro 2016.
Ireland took the lead through Robbie Brady’s early penalty but wilted under French pressure after the break.
Griezmann headed home the equaliser before slotting in his second just after the hour mark.
Shane Duffy was sent off for a last-ditch tackle on the Atletico Madrid striker, after which Ireland never recovered.
France will face the winner of tomorrow’s game between England and Iceland, with Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante suspended
for the quarter-final.
But for 45 minutes Irish fans could dream.
Ireland last reached the knockout stage of a major tournament at the 2002 World Cup, when they went out on penalties to
Since then the nation has suffered a dip on the international stage – with three defeats at Euro 2012 the ultimate
They were denied qualification for the 2010 World Cup after Thierry Henry’s famous handball the last time these sides
met in Paris.
The foul was not spotted by any of the officials and William Gallas subsequently bundled home the crucial goal as Ireland players appealed.
The outcome of that incident saw Henry publicly apologise for his act but FIFA refused Ireland’s claims to have the match replayed.
Seven years on and the Irish almost got their revenge.
Just two minutes into the game and Long went down under the most innocuous of challenges by Paul Pogba – the striker slowing down to allow the Juventus midfielder to bump into him.
Brady duly obliged with the penalty, slotting home of the right-hand post.
Paris is not the easiest of places to appease when France are losing and Lyon is no different. The home fans were restless.
Dimitri Payet and Pogba were both denied inch-perfect free-kicks by Darren Randolph in goal, while Olivier Giroud would surely have connected with a wicked cross had Duffy not glanced the ball clear.
Les Bleus were growing frustrated. Centre-back Rami clattered into Long to pick up a yellow, while Kante was also booked before the break.
But France hit back early in the second half through Griezmann, who headed Bacary Sagna’s cross home unmarked from 12 yards out.
Suddenly Lyon was rocking and the home fans had further cause for cheer just after the hour mark when Griezmann bagged his second with ease.
Giroud rose to a long ball that dragged both Irish centre-halves out of position, leaving the 25-year-old to latch on to the knock-down and slot past Randolph.
And the second-half nightmare was compounded when Duffy was red carded for felling Griezmann on the edge of the area – the centre-back unable to handle the pace of Atletico’s star striker.
From then on it was a training-ground exercise for France as Irelands struggled to get out of their half.