FEW ever heard of 31-year-old Frenchman Antoine Griezmann.
He all the time performed a low-key at Qatar’s World Cup.
However rightly so, he was on the centre of the reward on Wednesday night time after a sensational efficiency in France’s 2-0 win over a courageous Morocco facet of their World Cup semi-final.
The midfielder produced a brilliantly elusive run to arrange France’s first aim after simply 5 minutes, and was a menace for the Atlas Lions all night as he continued to excel in a extra combative position than he has typically performed.
TOP CLASS SHOW
Former England legend striker Alan Shearer, who anchors the BBC protection of the Qatar event, felt Griezmann was one of the best participant on the pitch, as he defined: “he was man of the match for me”.
He added: “You’ve received to present credit score to the best way (coach) Didier Deschamps has used him. He’s an excellent expertise, a very intelligent participant who reads the sport rather well. While you consider the gamers they’ve received lacking, him and Aurelien Tchouameni had been unbelievable on the defensive work.’
Likewise, Didier Drogba was additionally impressed by the modifications Griezmann had made to play a deeper position, saying he “appeared extra like N’Golo Kante”, however was nonetheless capable of transfer like a real ahead as “it’s like biking, you always remember it!”
NOT SCORED SO FAR
Paradoxically, Griezmann has not scored a single aim on the World Cup in Qatar however has created a number of possibilities whereas additionally dropping deep and breaking apart play.
“I really feel good in my legs, in my thoughts…the work I did on trip and later with Atletico did me good, it was what I wanted. I attempt to assist the staff as a lot as potential, as all the time,” Griezmann mentioned.
There was additionally reward from former England star defender Rio Ferdinand, who known as him “one of the best defensive participant within the event” earlier than including: ‘We may present nice clips of him getting ahead and creating issues however we will in all probability present you as many clips of his defending.’
It has been a outstanding event for Griezmann giving his peculiar membership state of affairs, which has seen him enjoying simply half-hour in every sport as Atletico Madrid look to keep away from triggering a sell-on clause in his contract.
FOR SUNDAY FINAL
With their star midfielder pulling strings behind an explosive entrance three, France will face Argentina within the ultimate on Sunday.
It could be billed as a superlative likelihood for Lionel Messi to verify his standing as the best participant in historical past, however the sport may also be an opportunity for the champions to turn out to be simply the second facet in historical past to win again to again World Cups.
At 35, this World Cup is nearly sure to be Messi’s final likelihood of successful the celebrated honour. Griezmann is aware of this and is anxious about dealing with his former Barcelona team-mate. He mentioned: “When a staff has Leo with them, it’s utterly completely different.”
Griezmann, who’s being deployed in a deeper position by France boss Deschamps, insisted he was impressed by Morocco after Wednesday’s sport. But the Atletico Madrid ahead is anticipating a a lot more durable tie in opposition to Argentina on Sunday.
Will he now get one other likelihood to point out his abilities on Sunday and steal the massive present?
* Suresh Nair is an award-winning sports activities journalist who can also be a certified worldwide coach and worldwide referee teacher
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