World Cup

Goalless Griezmann happy to put in hard yards for France

With another masterful display on Wednesday, France’s Antoine Griezmann demonstrated once more why he is the ideal team player and helped lead his team to a second straight World Cup final with their 2-0 victory over Morocco.

Theo Hernandez and substitute Randal Kolo Muani’s goals gave France the advantage, but it was Griezmann’s work ethic and cunning at both ends of the field that stood out.

The Atletico Madrid forward has notched several chances while also dropping deep and disrupting play during the World Cup in Qatar. He has not managed to score a single goal, though.

After another all-around performance against Morocco that earned the forward the man-of-the-match title, Paul Pogba even said on Instagram that Griezmann was playing like France’s injured all-action defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante.

“I feel good in my legs, in my mind… The work I did on vacation and later with Atleti did me good, it was what I needed. I try to help the team as much as possible, as always,” Griezmann said.

“Morocco impressed me tonight, they set up very well tactically and defensively. In the second half they created a lot of opportunities.

“Scoring an early goal made things easier for us as well and the second goal made it more comfortable for us. It’s a tough game that came down to small details. We’re going to try and learn from this.”

Victory set up a tantalizing final against Argentina, featuring Lionel Messi, which will be at Lusail Stadium on Sunday.

“Any team with Messi is a different proposition. We’ve seen Argentina play, we know how they play, they’re a difficult team to play and they’re in top form,” Griezmann said.

“They have a strong side around Messi. We know they’ll have a lot of support in the crowd. We’ll see where we can hurt them and how we can defend against them. We’ll be well prepared.

“We can make history but there is still a very long way to go, 90 minutes or more. You have to keep your feet on the ground.”

Griezmann, 31, said he had learned to control his emotions after being moved to tears the previous time they defeated Belgium in the semi-final. This is his second straight World Cup final.

“Against Belgium I cried, I think now I’m more focused,” he said.

“I’m already focused on the final on Sunday. I’m trying to keep my feet on the ground, remain composed, focus on recovery and prepare for Sunday’s match.”

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