France manager Didier Deschamps named Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud as a strike partnership in their 5-2 win over Iceland, and saw the two attackers play a part in every goal on the night, to form what is the most potent pairing in the tournament.
Target man/poacher combo resurrected
Olivier Giroud is the physical target man for France, while Antoine Griezmann is the pacey poach feeding off his knock-downs and flick-ons. The two players complement each other brilliantly on the pitch and have a fantastic working relationship. Giroud looks for his partner at every available opportunity as Griezmann is often making runs off the ball to get in behind the opposition backline. The former is always occupying central areas to give France an out ball, while bringing others into the attacks.
They have been lethal under Didier Deschamps in the European Championships, flourishing after being allowed to partner one another in attack, scoring and creating 90% of France’s goals. Against Iceland, the pair were on fire. Giroud latched onto a lofted through ball to score Les Blues’ opener, before Griezmann bagged an assist minutes later for Pogba to double France’s advantage.
Griezmann set up Dimitri Payet’s goal for France’s third, and got on the scoresheet himself from a deft flick from a through ball by Giroud for the fourth. Giroud scored the fifth goal inside of the hour mark for a demolition job well done at the Stade de France.
Selection headache for Deschamps ahead of semi-final clash
While undoubtedly thrilled to see his striker partnership working so well, France manager Didier Deschamps now has to try to find a system that works ahead of their clash to come against Germany. France have fared best with Griezmann playing a central role just behind Giroud, which means they can only name four midfield players instead of the typical five.
Germany will likely outnumber them in the middle of the park, and the Eagles have kept the ball better than any other side in the tournament. Joachim Loew’s men have averaged 63% possession in Euro 2016, and their midfield is where their most talented players lie, so Deschamps can’t underestimate Germany by leaving his side outnumbered. But France’s best form comes from having strikers so he has a real dilemma.
The likelihood is that Griezmann might occupy a wider role in a 4-3-3, but he’ll be given the freedom to come inside when France have the ball. Having three central midfielders and two wingers forming the five would ensure France aren’t leaving themselves light against the World championships. France are 7/4 to win Euro 2016. Can Griezmann and Giroud fire the side to glory?