World Cup

Griezmann is thriving for France in his new World Cup role.

Antoine Griezmann‘s efforts in a new midfield position have been essential for the holders on their march to Saturday’s World Cup quarterfinal match against England, even though Kylian Mbappe garners much of the attention for France.

Griezmann struggled early on at Atletico Madrid and hasn’t scored in Qatar, so Mbappe and Olivier Giroud must step up to the plate if France is to successfully defend the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.

All of this feels like a world away from Euro 2016, when Griezmann scored six goals and led the tournament in scoring as France, the hosts, advanced to the final but fell to Portugal in extra time.

That was thought to be the “Griezmann Generation”‘s just the beginning, but it was Mbappe’s rise to prominence that enabled them to advance further and win the 2018 World Cup.

Since then, Griezmann has changed and evolved into more of a supporting actor for France’s biggest star. Now, the Atletico Madrid striker who has a near-game-winning goal ratio plays in a midfield three for his country.

For coach Didier Deschamps, it is a case of needs must after midfielders Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante suffered injuries prior to the competition, and then forward Karim Benzema withdrew after arriving in Qatar.

As a result, France is set up in a 4-3-3 formation at this World Cup, with Griezmann operating to the right of a midfield three with Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot, while Ousmane Dembele and Mbappe flank Giroud in attack.

“My role is quite free,” said Griezmann, who has 42 goals for his country but none now in 13 appearances going back to November last year.

“With three players in front of me I have more possibilities and more choices. Maybe I am not as close to the opposition area. I am not going to have 50 shots on goal per game but I am not worried about scoring goals.

“I think the team needs me more at the heart of the action. We need that balance.”


The 31-year-old can now display his wide range of passing, his work ethic, and his threat from set pieces from midfield.

“Antoine has an incredible range to his game. He has fantastic technique, subtlety with his passing, and he works hard for his teammates,” said assistant coach Guy Stephan.

“The new position suits him. You just need to see the smile on his face.”

Griezmann has surprisingly outlasted Patrick Vieira, the 1998 World Cup winner, who had a record 44 straight games played for France, by playing in 71 straight games.

Even if the player had a challenging start to the season at Atletico, there was no question in Deschamps’ mind that he still had faith in the individual.

He had mostly been relegated to cameo roles for Diego Simeone’s team as they sought to avoid paying a rumored 40 million euro ($42 million) fee that would have been due to Barcelona if he had played in more than a predetermined number of games.

However, Atletico permanently acquired him in October after reaching an agreement on a new contract; by the time he left for Qatar, he had started a total of 12 games and had netted six goals.

Griezmann is now repaying Deschamps’ belief in him, who gave him his international debut in 2014 at the age of 22.

“I owe him so much. He was the one who called me up and we have been together ever since,” said the player who hails from Macon, near Lyon, but has spent his entire career in Spain.

“I give everything for this shirt, for France but also for him. I try to do everything to ensure he keeps having confidence in me.

“Every game, every action is me saying thank you to him. I want to do all I can to make him proud of his No 7.”

For more update, always visit

Latest News via Email

Don't miss What's happening in your area.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Get Latest News on Telegram