Antoine Griezmann put up an incredible performance against Morocco, prompting his French teammate Paul Pogba to liken him to the injured N’Golo Kante.
Didier Deschamps led the French team to their second successive World Cup finals after peeping the Moroccans at the Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday night, December 14.
Five minutes into the game, the Atlas Lions conceded a goal after a shabby defending helped the French side break into the box. Theo Hernandez scored from a rebound to put the 2018 champions ahead.
Morocco was neutralized in the midfield. Amrabat and Ounahi were effectively checked by the Konate. While Tchouameni cut-off supply to En-Nesyri upfront.
Deschamp’s tactical maneuvers effectively curtailed Moroccans’ mobility in the middle of the park. En-Nesyri was a casualty as he had his worst performance so far in the tournament, with only three touches of the ball.
Deschamps demonstrated his tactical masterclass when he made a couple of changes late into the game after Moroccans proved dominant throughout the second half.
He took off Dembele and brought in Kolo Muani. Kylian Mbappe was moved to the center-forward position, while Olivier Giroud shifted to the flank.
Deschamps hit the Moroccans just seconds before the tactical change. Kylian Mbappe broke into the Moroccan box and sent a pass to the substitute, Muani, who beat Bouno and volleyed home from the back post in the 79th minute just a few seconds after coming on.
In line with the tactical maneuver deployed by Deschamps, Antoine Griezmann, who is known for being a forward, took over the midfield position. To the amazement of the spectators, Griezmann put up a man-of-the-match performance against the Moroccans.
Recall that Deschamps was forced to go for the gamble of using Griezmann as a midfielder when it was confirmed that Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante – two legendary French midfielders – would not make the tournament due to injuries.
Pogba and Kante were instrumental in France’s 2018 World Cup triumph in Russia. They are the midfield overlords in the French national team but failed to make the tournament due to injuries.
Deschamp then deployed Antoine Griezmann as a box-to-box midfielder instead of playing him in his normal center-forward position. French pundits thought it was a joke, but the move has proved a masterstroke, underscoring the tactical ingenuity of Didier Deschamps.
Antoine Griezmann created as many chances in the game as Paul Pogba or N’Golo Kante could.
Antoine Griezmann was instrumental in the buildup of Theo Hernandez’s opening goal. He made two tackles, two interceptions, and three clearances to contain the Moroccans and give momentum to the French attack.
Taking to his Instagram handle, Juventus and former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba lauded the skills and versatility of Antoine Griezmann.
Paul Pogba wrote on his Instagram stories, “Griezmannkante,” comparing the Atletico Madrid forward to the injured Chelsea midfielder.
France will face Argentina in the finals of the 2022 World Cup on Sunday, December 18 as they look forward to defending the title they won four years ago.