Friday, July 23, 2021

Deschamps balks at Griezmann-Benzema concerns

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 Jun 2021

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Didier Deschamps believes Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann are developing a useful understanding in France’s attack at Euro 2020.

The world champions will seal top spot in Group F on Wednesday if they are able to beat Portugal, their conquerors in the last 16 of Euro 2016.

An already enviable array of talent at Deschamps’ disposal was bolstered by Benzema’s return from a near six-year international exile ahead of the tournament, allowing the head coach to field a dream forward line of Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe alongside the Real Madrid striker.

The returns so far have been occasionally promising, if not prolific, with Mats Hummels’ own goal the difference in a 1-0 opening win over Germany before Griezmann salvaged a 1-1 draw against group outsiders Hungary – his solitary shot of the competition so far.

In the latter match, Benzema passed to Griezmann on two occasions, receiving possession from the Barcelona man three times.

Against France, an instant understanding between Benzema and Mbappe was notable, as the Paris Saint-Germain superstar was found 12 times by his elder team-mate.

By contrast, Griezmann passed to Benzema once and received the ball from him on three occasions.

“That was your impression. I don’t think that was our opponents’ impression,” Deschamps told a pre-match news conference in Budapest when it was put to him the Griezmann-Benzema link was not yet as fruitful as had been hoped.

“They had some really good actions together.

“Of course, we can always do better but, speaking of misunderstandings, this is impossible.

“There’s also Kylian and the whole team, because the ball comes from the defenders and the midfield players and it is always about getting the ball as fast as possible in front of the opponent’s goal.”

Griezmann is playing in a slightly more withdrawn right-sided attacking role, with Benzema as the central focal point and Mbappe using his electrifying pace to get in behind opponents down the left.

While Deschamps acknowledges this is not Griezmann’s preferred position, he believes his versatility and adaptability will help to make the trident a success.

“I didn’t teach him anything. Since I’ve known him, I knew he could play in all offensive positions,” he added,

“Maybe it’s not his preferred position, but it’s a more general thought in terms of can it have a positive impact on the balance of the team and make us more dangerous for the opponent, can it make us better?”

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