Antoine Griezmann was a regular substitute three months ago amid a contract fiasco, but he is suddenly unstoppable in his second great World Cup, this time from a different position.
Although Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud’s goals for France have received most of the attention, England manager Gareth Southgate called Griezmann “a terrific player” before Saturday’s quarterfinal match. The Atletico Madrid player, who was given a new role in Didier Deschamps’ squad as a midfielder, proved Southgate was correct by setting up goals for Giroud and Aurelien Tchouameni in Les Bleus’ 2-1 victory.
Griezmann, who is now 31 years old, was ranked third among all players at the 2018 World Cup; may he advance even further this time? Starting with the semi-final matchup against Croatia on Wednesday, he and France had just two victories.
Throughout his whole career, Griezmann has played on the wings, in front, or as the number 10 player just behind a striker. However, Griezmann has forcbeen ed to play in centcentralfield in Qatar due to the injuries to first-choice combination Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, and it has been a resounding success.
The manager, Didier Deschamps, a midfielder who won the World Cup in 1998, stated, “I ask different things of him.” “Because he is so kind, he enjoys both touching the ball and passing it, so there is no compromise on his behalf.
“Although he will undoubtedly score fewer goals, he enjoys tackling and recovering the ball. He can do wonderful things with his left foot and shoot set pieces reasonably effectively. He possesses all the necessary skills to play at a deeper level, including vision, work ethic, touch, energy, and intelligence.
Griezmann has contributed to three goals, which is a record he shares with Harry Kane of England and Bruno Fernandes of Portugal. Additionally, he has produced 17 chances—both tournament highs—including six huge chances. He has played 41 passes into the box, which is a World Cup-record high, including corners, and won possession in the final third six times, which is the second-most at the tournament.
Griezmann tied for first place in assists in the 2018 tournament in Russia, although he finished 11th in chances created. He tied for joint 19th place for winning possession in the final third and ranked seventh for balls into the box.
The former forward for Real Sociedad and Barcelona stated last week: “In this new role, I feel very liberated. I have to act as the bridge connecting the defedefense the forwards. “It is simpler for me because I have three players in front of me—Mbappe, Giroud, and Ousmane Dembele—giving me more alternatives.
“For all, I h, ave in the national team, I owe Deschamps. I sacrifice everything for France, both for the shirt and the man. And I’m doing everything I can to earn his continued trust. Every action and every game is a way for me to express my gratitude to him. I wish he could be pleased with me.”
The midfield trio of Griezmann, Adrien Rabiot of Juventus, and Tchouameni of Real Madrid have haveyed for all of FranFrancey Griezmann is left without a goal. In actuality, he has taken six shots as opposed to 22 four years ago.
“Antoine Griezmann’s reincarnation as a number eight, patrolling midfield to run games, has been a wonderful move by Deschamps,” French football journalist JuliJulienrens stated. He has been exceptional, producing more opportunities than any other player in this World Cup while recovering five balls on average every game.
Griezmann’s third great tournament
Griezmann at major tournaments
Games Goals Assists Shots Chances created
2014 World Cup 5 0 0 7 7
Euro 2016 7 6 2 28 13
2018 World Cup 7 4 2 22 10
Euro 2020 4 1 0 7 10
2022 World Cup 5 0 3 6 17
Griezmann’s performance at the international level has likely received less credit than it deserves. Griezmann’s achievements in Russia 2018 were so strong that he was awarded the Bronze Ball, the official medal for the third-best player in the competition, despite Mbappe garnering all the attention (sound familiar?).
He will become just the third player to accomplish that feat twice, joining Ronaldo and Diego Maradona of Brazil and Argentina, respectively (the trophy was introduced in 1982). Griezmann finished second in scoring to England captain Harry Kane with four goals while playing a more advanced position at the time.
And his accomplishments extend beyond World Cups. He was voted the tournament’s player of the year and the Golden Boot winner at Euro 2016 after scoring six goals, two more than any other player.
Given that he has participated in each of France’s last 72 matches—dating back to a friendly match against England in June 2017—he is colorant to his nation. Patrick Vieira’s 44 consecutive games set the previous mark.
In 115 appearances for France since Griezmann’s debut in 2014, he has scored 42 goals—behind only Giroud and Thierry Henry—and provided 28 assists, a rumrumoredtional record. His big tournament record includes 28 games, 11 goals, and 7 assists.
A slightly strange club career
Griezmann has played all of his professional football in Spain for Real Sociedad, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona. In 474 league games, he has scored 170 goals. He has played for Atletico and Barcelona since 2014, but unfortunately, he has never won La Liga.
During that span, Barcelona won the league four times and Atletico once; however, Griezmann was on at different team each time. He joined Atleti twice in the summer immediately following their championship, once on loan from Barcelona in 2021 and once from Real Sociedad in 2014.
Griezmann moved to the Nou Camp for £107 million from Atletico Madrid, the sixth-largest transfer ever, and scored 35 goals in 102 appearances over the course of two seasons. However, the move was a failure, and as a cost-cutting measure by Barca, he returned to Atleti on loan. He was impacted by an odd contractual scenario at the beginning of this season, which resulted in his playing fewer than 30 minutes as a substitute in eight of Atletico’s first 11 games.
The reason for this is that Atletico Madrid did not want to activate a provision that would have required them to pay 40 million euros to sign him if he played more than 45 minutes in more than 50% of their games. They reached a new understanding and re-signed him to a long-term contract in October.
It would be intriguing to see if Diego Simeone is tempted to deploy Griezmann in this new role when he returns to Atletico after scoring just six goals in the first half of the season.