Antoine Griezmann’s efforts in a new midfield role have been key for France’s progress to Saturday’s World Cup quarterfinal against England. France’s Griezmann had a rough start at Atletico Madrid and hasn’t scored in Qatar, leaving Mbappe and Olivier Giroud to score as France tries to defend the World Cup for the first time 60 years.
France’s Griezmann thrives in a new position at the World Cup
It’s a far cry from Euro 2016 when Griezmann scored six goals, and France lost in extra time to Portugal. Mbappe helped the “Griezmann Generation” win the 2018 World Cup. Griezmann has become France’s top support player. Now the Atletico Madrid striker plays in a midfield three for Spain. Didier Deschamps must act after losing Paul Pogba, N Golo Kante, and Karim Benzema to injury before the competition.
France has lined up in a 4-3-3 at this World Cup, with Dembele and Mbappe flanking Giroud in attack and Griezmann on the right of a midfield three with Tchouameni and Rabiot. The 31-year-old can now show off his passing range, workrate, and set-piece deliveries.
The 31-year-old can now show off his passing range, workrate, and set-piece deliveries. Griezmann has played 71 consecutive games for France, breaking the record held by 1998 World Cup winner Patrick Vieira.
Deschamps never lost faith in him despite a slow start at Atletico. He was mostly a substitute for Diego Simeone’s side as they wanted to avoid paying Barcelona a projected 42 million euros if he played a specific number of games.
After negotiating a new agreement, Atletico signed him back permanently in October. He started 12 games before leaving for Qatar and scored six goals. Griezmann is returning to Deschamps’ faith by making his international debut at 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, France, and 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 number seven.”