Kevin Gameiro watched UEFA EURO 2016 from sofas in Seville and Strasbourg. He wowed as Antoine Griezmann finished it with the top scorer and player of the tournament awards.
A few months on and they are Atletico Madrid and France strike partners, Gameiro having swapped Andalusian white for capital Rojiblanco and overtaken the likes of Andre-Pierre Gignac, Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial to spearhead *Les Bleus’ *line.
With France losing 1-0 at home to their twice FIFA World Cup™ hangmen – Bulgaria denied them places at Chile 1962 and USA 1994 – Gameiro equalised, Griezmann scored, and then the latter set up the former to seal a resounding 4-1 victory. Griezmann believes the relationship has been a hit from day one – both on and off the pitch.
“We always try to be in the dressing room together,” the 25-year-old said of his 29-year-old sidekick. “He likes to have a laugh and so do I, so that part was easy.
“On the pitch he is a great striker. His movement is very good, so I’m always looking to find him. He’s assisted three of my six goals [for Atletico] this season, so I was pleased to give him one in return.”
Teacher pleased with new pupil
Deschamps was also buoyed by Gameiro's output at the Stade de France.
“He is there to score goals,” said the man who lifted the World Cup Trophy at the same venue in 1998. “He scored two. He played for the team. His movement is also very interesting. We we saw that his combination with Antoine worked very well."
The Netherlands, France and Sweden are level on four points at the top of Group A. The Oranje entertain Les Bleus *at the Amsterdam Arena on Monday, when you can keep up with the action on *FIFA.com's **intriguing LIVE blog.