Monday, December 11, 2017

Griezmann at home in the centre

Antoine Griezmann believes a tactical half-time switch that saw him occupy a more central role was key after he scored twice in France’s 2-1 win over Republic of Ireland at Euro 2016.

The host nation were staring down the barrel of a last-16 exit as Robbie Brady’s second-minute penalty put Ireland into a 1-0 half-time lead in Lyon on Sunday.

However, a shrewd tactical move from head coach Didier Deschamps saw Griezmann come in from the wing to play centrally in a 4-2-3-1 line-up and the Atletico Madrid man flourished with a crucial brace that put France into the quarter-finals.

And Griezmann feels he is better suited to playing in the middle, saying: “I had a discussion with the coach. He asked me where I was feeling better and I told him that I’ll play where he needed me. Right or down the middle, I will give the maximum.

“But it is true that in the centre is where I have my bearings, where I played most of the time this season with Atletico.”

On his own performance, he added: “I’m very happy, and I try to answer all these encouragements on social networks through my efforts on the field, for everyone from the fans who buy a shirt to those who encourage us inside the stadium.”

France will now face either England or Iceland at the Stade de France on Sunday, and Griezmann said his side had learned from a poor first half against Ireland.

“Our first half was not very good, but it is not possible to do worse,” he said. “In the second half, we saw a France team that everyone wants to see.

“We all said things [at half-time] actually. Basically, it was necessary to move our asses. If we stayed there with that result, we would all look like idiots.

“The coach made tactical decisions that helped us.”

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