Antoine Griezmann says his late goal for France against Albania was “revenge” for his disappointing showing in the Euro 2016 opener against Romania.
The Atletico Madrid forward, 25, was touted as one of the potential stars of the tournament on the eve of the first match, but he failed to live up to that billing in France’s 2-1 victory at Stade de France, squandering key chances to score.
Griezmann and Paul Pogba were subsequently dropped to the bench for their second Group A fixture against Albania in Marseille on Wednesday.
With the hosts struggling to break down stubborn opposition, Griezmann came off the bench midway through the second half to head home in the 90th minute, before Dimitri Payet added a second deep into stoppage time.
Head coach Didier Deschamps revealed that Griezmann and Pogba had been unhappy at being left out, but France can now look forward to the last 16 after sealing qualification.
“We are 23 [players] and the coach has to manage the group,” Griezmann told TF1.
“The coach told me before the team talk he would be replacing me. He asked me to be ready. I tried to do my best in being a substitute.
“It is sure that this goal will help me – it is a revenge on the match I had played against Romania. I will continue to work as I do. We will have to continue like this.”
Full-back Bacary Sagna, meanwhile, feels there is still plenty for the hosts to work on, while he hopes Griezmann’s goal will kick-start his team-mate’s tournament.
“It’s satisfactory because we qualified,” he told reporters. “But we can do much better than we saw in this game.
“He [Griezmann] just accustomed everyone to [him being] very, very powerful and he knows that people expect more from him. He responded well.”