This Wednesday, March 31, the French team is playing in Bosnia-Herzegovina for the third day of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. At its head, Antoine Griezmann. Record holder for consecutive appearances in Blue (45 in 88 capes) since the match against Kazakhstan, the French international has become the boss of this France team. How? ‘Or’ What ? Response elements.
That it seems far from this time. March 5, 2014, the French team faces the Netherlands in a friendly match. If, at first glance, it is none other than a preparatory meeting for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, it is above all the beginning of a new era embodied by the first appearance, in the tricolor jersey, of Antoine Griezmann. Under his blue eyes sparkling with stars, and his well-arranged golden haircut, this 22-year-old “kid” from Mâcon, did not yet know, at that time, that he was going to become the essential link in his life. Didier Deschamps and a French team who won world champions four years later. From a young artist with a strong character, but with certain and precocious talent, the former Atlético de Madrid player has today established himself as the real boss of the Blues.
For Alain Giresse, European champion in 1984 and former French playing master, his influence and his role today within Didier Deschamps’ team are not at all a surprise: “It is his game above all that defines him as a boss. He has a puzzle game, full of tactical and technical mastery. He is the guarantor of the base of the game of this France team.”
It is therefore not a surprise that the Mâconnais has become, since his team’s victory in Kazakhstan on Sunday March 28, the player with the most consecutive appearances (45) in the Blue jersey, overtaking another figure of French football: Patrick Vieira. “It’s still quite huge “, observes France Télévisions consultant Eric Roy. “VSThis means that he has a sacred continuity in his performances, and that he is a boy who is in good health as well. That’s a pretty amazing stat.“
“It is his profile and his type of play that make the difference, he allows opportunism and makes others play. In this register, like him, there are not many “, details Alain Giresse. “Dn a team, it’s always interesting to have a player like that, who is always in the right timing, and who has the ability to always be able, depending on the circumstances of the match, to make a difference.“A regularity in the performance which also impresses, but does not surprise, Eric Roy:”I just think he’s good on this team, and that this team is right for him. The important players around him are complementary, they value him and conversely, he values all his teammates.“
If the coach appreciates Antoine Griezmann so much, it is also because his profile and his style of play make him a particularly atypical player, and above all very effective. With 34 goals and 21 assists in 88 selections, the former Real Sociedad has been the most decisive player in the Blues for seven years, well ahead of his fellow attacker, Olivier Giroud (39 goals and 7 assists). Sometimes a creator, sometimes a scorer, Griezmann puts his adaptability to the service of the French collective, without forgetting his duties as the first presser of the ball carrier. “We often forget to say it, but beyond his qualities as a creator or scorer, he is an immense worker “, notes Eric Roy. “VSis a boy who works a lot for the team, and you always need a player like that. “
“When you have in your palette, all these technical capacities, and at the same time an intelligence of play which allows to have as much the faculty of playing as of scoring, this always translates into the gesture which is necessary to reach the goal “, adds Alain Giresse. “Whether by a pass or a strike as he was able to do against Ukraine for example, he very often causes the success and that of his team.”
Obviously, if Antoine Griezmann has become this so stable pillar on which the France team rests, it is also in large part because its coach, Didier Deschamps, quickly understood that he counted among his strong men, a player capable of assuming such responsibilities. And above all, he has become the central element in his playing philosophy, as the former member of the “magic square”, Alain Giresse explains: “The coach understands that he is not interchangeable. Today, and in relation to what we have described of its qualities, if you remove it from the frame, who can we put in its place? Person ! There are no players who meet his qualities. Didier Deschamps did not create it. It is Antoine Griezmann, in relation to his register, in relation to his progress, who joined this France team and who brought everything he knows how to do“.