DOHA, Qatar (AP) – Antoine Griezmann is enjoying his new role helping others at the World Cup. Instead of worrying about registering for France.
Griezmann ranks third in the list of scorers in the history of his country, with 42 goals, but in Qatar he played the right-midfield role in a 4-3-3 formation and has yet to score. And entering the last 16 against Poland on Sunday, he did not insist.
“I don’t rack my brains about how to score goals,” Griezmann said on Friday. “The team needs me more in the heart of the game.” “I like being the link between midfield and attack. I’m more in a role where I try to go deeper and help others.
While other players may complain about their transfer, it is no sacrifice for Griezmann, who is playing in his third consecutive World Cup final and set to earn his 114th cap.
“I’m here to do what the coach tells me to do. I want to be proud of my jersey and proud of the coach,” he said. “I want to make things as easy as possible for my teammates. I am in very good physical shape and feel good mentally when this happens.
Griezmann has always been close to Deschamps, who supported him when he lost form last season. On the contrary, their bond grew stronger.
“He’s a very confident coach and that’s his strength,” said Griezmann. “He wants to talk to the players and see how you feel.”
Griezmann last scored for the Blues in a friendly match against Kazakhstan last November.
Griezmann thought he had ended that drought on Wednesday when he scored a volley in the eighth and final minute of stoppage time in a 1-0 defeat by Tunisia. Referee Matthew Conger disqualified him after a video review.
A relaxed Griezmann took it in stride.
“I think I was one of the first players to see a goal disallowed by the video assistant referee,” recalls Griezmann, laughing. “You can’t celebrate the way you want, but we already qualified.”
The French Football Federation lodged a complaint with FIFA Because of Griezmann’s disallowed goal.
Like Griezmann, striker Kylian Mbappe scored four goals in the 2018 World Cup, both in the final. While Griezmann might be happy to step out of the spotlight, Mbappe might not be.
“Kylian is not the same player or character he is now,” Griezmann said. Anything he does will be scrutinized by the media. But it is flawless.
Griezmann learned to bond better with Mbappe, and crossed for Mbappe’s goal in a 2-1 win over Denmark. In the second group match of France.
“I’m starting to understand that he wants more,” said Griezmann.
Mbappe is only 23 and could play in two World Cups, with the 31-year-old Griezmann joking that he might not be fit enough to play in the next one in 2026.
“I’ll probably put on a few pounds,” said Griezmann.
Other members of the squad paid tribute to Griezmann’s dedicated style in this year’s tournament.
“Griezmann is a great player. He plays in midfield, but he’s still good,” said France center back William Saliba. “I am sure he will continue to score goals and achieve good goals.”
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