Antoine Griezmann won the Man of the Match Award for the second time at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia after helping France to a deserved 2-0 win over Uruguay in the quarter-final game decided on Friday.
Defender Rafael Varane headed home Griezmann’s free kick to give Les Blues a first half lead before the Atletico Madrid striker saw his long range effort fumbled into the net by Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernado Muslera in the second half of the last game decided at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.
France’s first goal surprised many, as the South Americans are known to be very formidable in set-piece situations but it didn’t come as a surprise for the French Number Seven.
“We knew that Diego (Godin) and (Jose) Gimenez are very good in the air, we knew we would have to contend with that so we tried to put tall players up front and trouble them with that,” said Griezmann about his two club mates after the game.
“It was good to score through such situation although they almost scored against us through it as well but Lloris made a good save.
“In the end, we knew we didn’t have to accept their style and always have to stay positive before we take the game where we wanted it to go,” he added.
The 1998 winners have produced a blend of sweet displays with some tepid ones all through their campaign in Russia. When asked about their playing philosophy, Griezmann answers:
“I do not think we have a set style, we have people who know how to manage their game. They know when they should stop or when they should move, that’s what we are built on.”
Current French manager Didier Deschamps was the captain when Les Blues won the title on home soil in 1998. The former Monaco coach would not affirmatively say his aim of coming to Russia has been achieved.
“I like to achieve my targets just like everybody else. I have not gotten there yet but I can’t complain,” said Deschamps.
“I don’t focus on myself but my pride is in everybody. I’m not doing this for myself but the players, the coaching staff, my family and friends.
“It is good to be able to share this joy with the French fans when things go our way like today,” he said.
France will face either Brazil or Belgium in the first semi-final game in St Petersburg next Tuesday. Deschamps has no preference over the two teams as he believes they are both difficult.
“For now, we only have the potential to be in the semi final. I don’t have a preference between Brazil and Belgium, I respect both teams and they are both going to bring good tests out of us,” he concluded.