Friday, July 30, 2021

Griezmann admits raucous atmosphere and heat got to France

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Jun 2021

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Antoine Griezmann admits playing in front of a full stadium in sweltering conditions affected France in their surprise 1-1 Euro 2020 draw with Hungary on Saturday.

Barcelona forward Griezmann equalised 24 minutes from time in Budapest to cancel out Attila Fiola’s first-half opener and salvage Les Blues a point in the Group F match.

Hungary were spurred on by a raucous crowd, with around 61,000 spectators in attendance thanks to an easing of coronavirus restrictions in the Hungarian capital.

France had to settle for a point that leaves them waiting on a place in the last 16 and Griezmann puts his side’s disjointed display down to a couple of factors.

“It was a difficult match for us,” he told beIN SPORTS. “With the fans here in a full stadium, we lost our normal habits. We struggled to get along and it was also super-hot.

“We got caught out at the back and didn’t know how to find each other. We didn’t know how to put away our chances in the first half.

“We know that we have players on the bench to make the difference at any time. We have to continue to work hard and improve.”

Griezmann’s goal was his seventh at the Euros, putting him behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (11) and Michel Platini (nine) in the list of the competition’s all-time top scorers.

That strike did at least rescue France a point that moves them to the top of Group F ahead of Germany’s clash with Portugal – Les Blues’ next opponents – in Munich.

France were never quite at their best in the group stage before going on to win the 2018 World Cup, and Griezmann is confident that his side will improve as Euro 2020 goes on.

“It reminds me a little of the World Cup when we were made to suffer in the group stage,” he told TF1. “We will have to quickly recover and go again against Portugal. 

“We always knew it would be complicated in the heat and noise in the stands. I have full confidence in the group.”

Fiola’s goal was the first France had conceded in 527 minutes, but they battled back to make it nine matches without defeat at major tournaments.

Skipper Hugo Lloris is staying positive after the draw with Hungary, which ends a run of five successive wins in all competitions.

“We gave 100 per cent to get the draw today, even if that is not the result we wanted,” he told TF1. “We have to be content with the scoreline.

“The opposition made the most of their chance and were well organised, helped by their supporters. We’re disappointed but you have to stay positive.”

Asked if the heat played a part as well as the deafening home crowd, Lloris said: “That plays a part, but conceding a goal just before half-time also didn’t help us.

“If we had taken the lead it would have changed the dynamics. But we came back into the game and have to be satisfied and recover for the next match.”

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