- Griezmann instrumental in France’s World Cup win
- Les Bleus' front man named Budweiser Man of the Match in Final
- He made a decisive contribution in all of their knockout matches
By Adrien Gingold with France
Not for the first time at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Antoine Griezmann was France’s saviour in Sunday’s Final against Croatia. We spoke afterwards to the Budweiser Man of the Match, a newly-crowned World Cup champion.
“After a match like that it doesn’t really sink in," said a beaming Griezmann, who could barely contain himself. "Believe me though: I’ll be the first to buy the jersey with the two stars."
After emerging from the dressing room singing and dancing with Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, he somehow managed to collect his thoughts. “Sorry, but we’re so happy. We feel so proud, and we just want one thing: to go and celebrate this with the people of France.”
France’s joint-leading goalscorer of the competition with Mbappe, Griezmann once again played an influential role as they saw off Croatia. Not afraid to take responsibility, he set Les Bleus on the road to victory again, just as he had done in scoring a penalty against Argentina, and in flighting pinpoint free-kicks on to the heads of Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti as France saw off Uruguay and Belgium respectively.
He was at it again in the Final, first sending in the free-kick from which Mario Mandzukic inadvertently glanced the ball into his own net, and then scoring from the penalty spot. Reflecting on the game, he said: “I love matches like this. It’s win or you’re out. That’s when I’m at my most confident and when I feel the best. I’m delighted I was able to show that again tonight.”
With four goals in all at Russia 2018, he is France’s second highest scorer at a single World Cup after Just Fontaine, who struck an incredible 13 goals at Sweden 1958. It came as news to Griezmann: “I honestly didn’t know that. I know it sounds like a cliche, but the team comes before all else. Today we became world champions together, and we’d be nothing without the team.”
Giving his opinion amid the French euphoria, Lucas Hernandez had this to say about his Atletico Madrid team-mate, a player he is very close to and whom he describes as his big brother: “He’s one of the best players in the world and I love him to bits. He’s helped me tremendously and I sincerely wish him every happiness in the world.”
At this moment in time, that happiness takes the form of the World Cup Trophy and the adidas Bronze Ball Award. Having the final word and wearing a broad grin, the hero of the hour exclaimed a few simple words that now sum up what has become a glorious international career: “Vive la republique et vive la France!”