Second star over style for Antoine
Antoine Griezmann has hit back at criticism of France playing “antifootball” under Didier Deschamps and insists it does not matter how Les Bleus go about trying to beat Croatia in the World Cup final.
Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and captain Eden Hazard both lamented the way France approached their semi-final in St Petersburg.
A second-half header from Samuel Umtiti proved enough for a 1-0 win, despite Deschamps’ side conceding large amounts of possession to their European rivals.
Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann, however, maintains France will do whatever it takes to lift the World Cup for a second time in Moscow on Sunday.
“Thibaut Courtois, he played at Atletico, he was a Spanish champion. With Chelsea, does he believe he is playing the football of Barcelona?” Griezmann said.
“I don’t care how. I want a second star to be on this shirt, and if I have the star, I do not care about the game we have done.”
Griezmann believes France’s progress has been built on a collective team effort throughout the group. “We thought we needed to be a solid block, hard to beat. It is improved over time,” the 27-yearold said. “We know that we can be offensive at any moment, but the defence remains our base.”
Croatia needed extra time in each of their knockout matches, coming through 2-1 in their semi-final against England on Wednesday.
Griezmann expects Deschamps, who won the World Cup as a player in 1998, to be ready for the task ahead at the Luzhniki Stadium.
“He knows the way. We believe in him, we trust him,” the forward said. “He prepares the matches well and has made strong choices in this competition, especially with Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez. His choices are paying off, and I hope it will continue.”
France could be set for a weekend of celebration, with Sunday’s final following on from the July 14 Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees.
A massive fan-zone near the Eiffel Tower will show the Croatia match on giant screens as an expectant nation seeks a repeat of their triumph on home soil in 1998.
Electric Blue: Antoine Griezmann.