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France team: Griezmann, a problem at the heart of the game

In theory, the Blues have all the assets to score. But the game’s hub is slipping. Antoine Griezmann, for personal reasons related to his club situation as well as his placement in the selection, lack of influence, as his last three games have shown, except the second period against Croatia (4-2) which he will meet again this Wednesday for the 4th day of the League of Nations.

Without this strong link, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappé, the two points, find themselves weaned from the ball and a little lost on the field, like their performance against Portugal (0-0) this Sunday. It is an alert that could push Didier Deschamps to review his plans.

Since his arrival in Barcelona in the summer of 2019, Griezmann’s life was cut in two very clearly: at Barça, nothing is going anymore, in Blue, everything is smiling. So much so that his real club looked more like the contours of the France team than life in Catalonia, where the transplant does not take.

New season and new setting: now, the Mâconnais is exporting his Barcelona malaise to the selection. Despite a new coach (Ronald Koeman) who, in words, comforts him, the 3rd in the Ballon d’Or 2016 and 2018 totally lacks confidence, lucidity and accuracy. He admits it bluntly. “We’re trying to be with Kylian (Mbappé). There were two occasions where I could have given him but I missed the pass or I chose another player, ”he said humbly.

He lacks self-confidence

At 29 years old, the one who dreamed of sitting at the table of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo fails to win in a very large in Europe, even if Barça is currently going through a huge hollow, sportingly as in backstage where the presidency Josep Bartomeu falters. Placed on the transfer list to finally stay, he still does not evolve in his real position. The thinning does not come and nothing, so far, indicates a change. But the Blues need the real Griezmann, his best player at Euro 2016, one of his best at the 2018 World Cup.

Griezmann has established himself as an essential piece of Didier Deschamps’ puzzle at the position of nine and a half, just behind Olivier Giroud, in a flexible 4-4-2 with Blaise Matuidi on the left and Kylian Mbappé on the right. Now, the coach is exploring other tactical avenues, as he announced by recalling several times that he was looking to place his attacking trio in the best conditions and that nothing was final.

The right place, really?

The striker has been evolving since the start of the school year in number 10, behind Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappé against Portugal. Deschamps believes that everyone occupies their best position, while taking into account the qualities of scorer of the Parisian, crowned twice best director of the French Championship in 2019 and 2020.

But that’s no surprise: Griezmann is not a playmaker, let alone when he comes back for balls in front of his surface. Against Portugal he constantly played far from goal and when he got close to it bad choices came out of his feet. It is a kind of counter-employment.

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Obviously, what the boss of A saw may not please him. Inveterate tactician, Deschamps will therefore resume his thoughts and seek him again his best role. Griezmann, 5th top scorer in the history of the Blues, is more useful near the surface even though he wins a lot. But the national coach thinks in terms of complementarity and associations. His obsession is with the offensive trio and their association. It’s a whole. If he returns to the formula for the World title, he will then have to find Blaise Matuidi’s successor. The mechanic continues.

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