Griezmann the brains behind France’s convincing World Cup start

On the way to France exorcising the ghost of World Cup winners past by qualifying for the knockout phase in Qatar 2022, attacker Antoine Griezmann has been a shining light.
France have shaken off the curse of the defending champions at the Fifa World Cup by qualifying for the knockout phase with a game to spare.
After winning the World Cup in 1998, then being eliminated in the group stage four years later, France set in motion a trend of World Cup winners being eliminated in the first round of the following tournament since then.
However, in 2022, the 2018 world champions have halted that hoodoo, and it is largely due to Antoine Griezmann’s return to his best.
Griezmann has played as an attacking midfielder rather than a pure forward, brilliantly making the link between midfielders Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot and the attacking trio of Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe.
“He covers a lot of space. He has the ability to defend and to make others play. It’s the Antoine we know, the Antoine who is in form,” centre back Raphael Varane told reporters after France beat Denmark 2-1 on Saturday to advance to the last 16 having scored six and conceded two goals.
Griezmann set up Mbappe for the 86th-minute winner with his 26th assist for the national team, but the Atletico Madrid player did much more than that at Stadium 974.
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Griezmann played mainly deep, but also often close to lone striker Giroud or even on the flanks.
“I was impressed by him,” said Tchouameni. “He’s got a huge volume of play and everything is going smoothly between us. I’m impressed but not surprised. You can see him tackle at training every day.”
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Like Dembele, Griezmann has played selflessly, leaving the limelight to Mbappe.
“I probably ask different things from him, but there is no sacrifice on his part,” said coach Didier Deschamps.
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“He is so generous. He enjoys building up moves. He will score fewer goals, because there are other players up front, but he is so useful, intelligent. He provides the team with a good balance.
“I could have played him on the right flank of the attack instead of Ousmane ...