Sec­ond star over style for An­toine

Sport360 - - World Cup 2018 - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 editorial@sport360.com

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.

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