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FIFA World Cup 2018: Antoine Griezmann key to France’s title hopes

Antoine Griezmann’s attacking partnership with Olivier Giroud can prove to be the deciding factor for France in the FIFA World Cup 2018.

football Updated: Jun 03, 2018 16:51 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
FIFA World Cup 2018,Antoine Griezmann,France national football team
Antoine Griezmann will be a major asset for France at the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.(AP)

Country: France

World Cup Appearances: 5

World Cup Goals: 0

When Zinedine Zidane & Co lifted the FIFA World Cup title in 1998, Antoine Griezmann was only nine years old and playing for home town club UF Macon. Twenty years have passed since that victory and France are now looking at Griezmann to guide them to their first international trophy since 2000. (Full schedule of FIFA World Cup 2018)

The 27-year-old forward, who was once rejected by a number of clubs because they thought he was ‘too little’ for football, has been a consistent performer in the club circuit for La Liga side Atletico Madrid.

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Griezmann’s pace and skill makes him a tricky footballer for the opponent defenders to control and it is no surprise that he has scored 25 goals or more in the last four seasons with Atletico.

On the international front, Griezmann plays more of a creative role and it is his responsibility to create chances for the centre forward. But that has not stopped the forward from scoring 20 goals in 51 matches and his best performance came in Euro 2016 where he was top-scorer with 6 goals.

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He was an integral part of the campaign and it was his goal against Germany that booked France’s spot in the summit clash. However, they fell agonisingly short of winning the title as they were outdone by Portugal thanks to an extra-time goal from Eder. Since that heartbreak, the France squad has grown a lot stronger and Griezmann will once have to take the responsibility of leading the attack.

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The glimpses of Griezmann’s genius were quite apparent during France’s qualifying encounters when he both scored and created chances for his teammates. Despite having strong sides like Sweden and Netherlands in the same group, France topped the table with absolute ease and Griezmann was their joint top-scorer with 4 goals.

However, his biggest achievement was the plays that he created for his teammates and his attacking partnership with Olivier Giroud can prove to be the deciding factor in Russia.

First Published: Jun 03, 2018 16:51 IST