Antoine Griezmann is ready for the “completely different proposition” Lionel Messi posed after inspiring France to another World Cup final.
Griezmann produced the best performance of the match as defending champions France ended Morocco’s historic streak into the semi-finals with a 2-0 victory, thereby setting up a confrontation with Argentina in the match. final on Sunday.
The 31-year-old insists France will be ready to defend their crown against Messi and his teammates, and revealed that they will start drawing up a game plan immediately on Thursday.
“Any team with Messi is a completely different proposition,” Griezmann said in his post-match press conference. “We’ve watched practically all the games at this World Cup, we’ve watched Argentina play, we know how they play, they’re a tough team and the team that’s in the best shape.
“Of course, it’s not just Messi, they have a strong team around him, so we know it’s going to be a tough game. We know they’re going to get a lot of support from the audience. “So we’re going to work tomorrow, talk about it, see what to focus on and where we can hurt them and fight them. We’ll be well prepared.”
Griezmann redefines his role in dazzling fashion
Sky Sports’ Jack Wilkinson:
Antoine Griezmann’s redeployment at the heart of France’s World Cup-winning effort in Qatar was hailed as a stroke of genius even before a ball was kicked at Al Bayt Stadium. His most recent enthralling performance, beating Morocco in its historic run to the semi-finals, only raised such ratings.
Morocco beat Belgium, Spain and Portugal in a series of stellar performances en route to the fourth round. Their effort would even see the Lions of Atlas temporarily stop Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud from pursuing the Golden Shoe, but their performance, no matter how spirited, could not. including Griezmann.
After the injuries of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante before the World Cup, Deschamps was forced to take action. In an apparently desperate move, the world champions looked to Griezmann to fill a void left by the two stars of their victory in Russia four years ago. It was billed as a gamble but has grown into a big hit.
How did Griezmann, a goalscorer with great goals, win the tournament’s player of the year and Golden Boot at Euro 2016, while also inspiring France to world glory? The 2018 Cup, which has evolved into a box-to-box midfielder, able to defend like he is under attack, is the remarkable story of France’s progress to another final.
Against Morocco, Griezmann created twice as many chances as any other player on the pitch and played a key role in Theo Hernandez’s opening goal with a superb spin on the side. after. But his repetitive efficiency in defence was equally important, with 3 clearances, 2 tackles and 2 interceptions keeping Morocco out of the game for much of the game.
Mbappe and Lionel Messi will dominate Sunday’s World Cup final is understandable. But if France wants to keep the crown that Griezmann helped protect in Russia, you can be sure that his mark will appear on it again, albeit under a different guise.
‘This is Antoine Griezmann’s performance’
Sky Sports News Senior Correspondent, Melissa Reddy:
“Is it the heir to the throne, Kylian Mbappe, who has won the World Cup to his name, or the best player in the world we can remember, Lionel Messi, who doesn’t have that world championship? ? Outage status, come out on top?
“It will be a big battle between Mbappe and Messi, but the final between France and Argentina is so much more.
“I have been watching Argentina and France since their first training sessions in Qatar and the contrast between them is actually quite unbelievable.
“During Argentina’s first training session, the whole press was talking about how this was a big chance for Messi to win the World Cup. They had that feeling and were on a 35-match winning streak. There was a sense of equanimity. static but of course, they got that shock from Saudi Arabia.
“There were times when they didn’t look so good, but Messi took on the games for them and did things that only Messi can do.
“Then you look at France and in their first training session there was a journalist who said Didier Deschamps’ team lacked too many players to stand the test. The core of the team had been gutted by injury.
“However, after a few games, they started to understand. The solidarity in that squad was remarkable, and even though England have outplayed them in big periods and Morocco even. played better than England against France, but there was never really a sense of danger to them. They were very calm, very calm and they knew what they had to do.
“I know people want me to talk about Mbappe and build on the battle between Mbappe and Messi in the final, but this is Griezmann’s performance. He is the standout French player.
“He was absolutely everywhere on the pitch in the match against Morocco. Everything they built on the offensive side came from him. Some of their last defense was him. He was the one. an unreal player.”
Deschamps closely predicts the World Cup final
Head coach Didier Deschamps will become the first man in history to win the World Cup as a player and twice as a coach if France overcomes Argentina in Sunday’s final in a match that the Frenchman won. The 54-year-old thinks it will be decided by the odds ratio.
“I am always proud to achieve results like this,” said Deschamps. “It was great to reach the final on Sunday. It was not an easy victory, but we showed our quality, experience and teamwork. We have to dig deep, even in the tough moments of the game, and as a coach I’m very proud of my players.”
During Sunday’s World Cup final, Deschamps continued: “Lionel Messi was in brilliant form at the start of the tournament. Four years ago [in Russia] Things were different, he actually played as a striker in front of us, which took us by surprise. While he is now playing behind the center forward, he picks up the ball a lot, runs with it, is in great form and, of course, is one of the greatest players in the world.
“We saw a very strong Argentina team against Croatia but in previous games they were not always so strong. We played imperfectly against England or Morocco, late in the first half and At the beginning of the second half they put us under a lot of pressure, and we could have played better.
“But in the final against Argentina, both teams played better than they have played so far in the tournament, and we have two very quality sides. It will be up to the key players to decide what to do. makes the difference, and maybe the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins the game. The team that does that wins the game.”
Benzema makes an impressive comeback in the final?
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Deschamps refused to rule out the possibility that Karim Benzema caused a shock in Sunday’s World Cup final.
Ballon D’or winner suffered a thigh injury during France’s first training session in Qatar but Deschamps chose not to call in a substitute, meaning the Real Madrid forward remains part of the France squad and could be available. to be selected, if he is deemed fully fit.
During tonight’s post-match press conference, Deschamps was asked: “It was reported today that Benzema could return to Qatar. First of all, is that true? And is there any possibility that he could use him? him for a few minutes, if you need him?”
Deschamps smiled exasperatedly and replied, “I really don’t want to answer that question. Next question. I’m sorry.”