Al Khor: France’s Antoine Griezmann proved once again that he is the ultimate team player with another virtuoso performance to help guide his team to a second consecutive World Cup final on Wednesday with their 2-0 win over Morocco.
Goals from Theo Hernandez and substitute Randal Kolo Muani made the difference for France but it was Griezmann’s combination of graft and guile at both ends of the pitch that caught the eye.
The Atletico Madrid forward has not scored a single goal at the World Cup in Qatar but has created several chances while also dropping deep and breaking up play.
Paul Pogba even suggested on Instagram that Griezmann was playing like France’s injured all-action defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante after another all-round performance against Morocco, which earned the forward the man-of-the-match award.
Morocco's impressive show
“I feel good in my legs, in my mind … The work I did on vacation and later with Atleti did me good, it was what I needed. I try to help the team as much as possible, as always,” Griezmann said.
“Morocco impressed me tonight, they set up very well tactically and defensively. In the second half they created a lot of opportunities.
“Scoring an early goal made things easier for us as well and the second goal made it more comfortable for us. It’s a tough game that came down to small details. We’re going to try and learn from this.”
Victory set up a mouth-watering final with Lionel Messi’s Argentina, which will take place at Lusail Stadium on Sunday.
Lot of crowd support
“Any team with Messi is a different proposition. We’ve seen Argentina play, we know how they play, they’re a difficult team to play and they’re in top form,” Griezmann said.
“They have a strong side around Messi. We know they’ll have a lot of support in the crowd. We’ll see where we can hurt them and how we can defend against them. We’ll be well prepared.
“We can make history but there is still a very long way to go, 90 minutes or more. You have to keep your feet on the ground.”
For Griezmann, it is a second consecutive World Cup final and the 31-year-old said he had learned to keep his emotions in check after he was moved to tears the last time they beat Belgium in the semi-final.
“Against Belgium I cried, I think now I’m more focused,” he said. “I’m already focused on the final on Sunday. I’m trying to keep my feet on the ground, remain composed, focus on recovery and prepare for Sunday’s match.”