Griezmann gives his all, France advances to World Cup final

Griezmann gives his all, France advances to World Cup final

darts are running key attacks. Timely Interception. reassurance passes.

Antoine Griezmann gave his all for France on Wednesday, now he is going into his second World Cup final.

Griezmann had exceptional moments in both penalty areas – and really every part of the field in between – as he helped France beat Morocco to an impressive 2-0 in the semifinals at the Al Bayt Stadium.

It was a competitive venue for a gifted player who reinvented himself at this year’s World Cup. And he will now try to deny Lionel Messi, his former Barcelona team-mate, a first World Cup title on Sunday.

Griezmann played as a winger at the 2014 World Cup and then was France’s top scorer in the country’s 2018 title-winning campaign. He’s now an all-purpose midfielder, creating chances for his team-mates and obliterating opposition threats.

It was Griezmann’s perfectly timed run over the Moroccan defense that sent the ball into the penalty area that led to Wednesday’s opener. Theo Hernández was the ultimate beneficiary in the fifth minute.

As Morocco put France under heavy pressure in the second half, Griezmann responded with tackles, headers and blocks. All of his boundless energy was required before victory was sealed with an instant impact – and goal – from substitute Randal Kolo Muani in the 79th minute.

When it was over, Griezmann slowly raised both arms and walked across the pitch to hug defender Ibrahima Konaté, who also provided a tremendous barrier against Morocco’s stubborn attacks.

Griezmann then comforted some of his opponents and sought out goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who also plays in the Spanish league.

Griezmann is a perfect example of how France have evolved after 10 years under coach Didier Deschamps.

The team reached the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals and then played in the 2016 Euro final, where they lost to Portugal at home in Paris. The French followed up with the World Cup in 2018 and have a chance to claim a third win in their history against Argentina on Sunday at the Lusail Stadium.

The backbone of this team – goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, centre-back Raphaël Varane, Griezmann and striker Olivier Giroud – was always present. Mbappé’s explosive speed and goals came into play in 2017 and have brought glory to Deschamps in the second half of the era.

More could be added to the already impressive list of achievements on Sunday.

– Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press

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