Griezmann happy if France win World Cup 'ugly'

Belgium's players criticised the tactics France used in its 1-0 semi-final win, but Griezmann dismissed the criticism.

Antoine Griezmann said he had changed the way he plays for France in order to benefit the team.   -  AP

France forward Antoine Griezmann said winning the World Cup against Croatia on Sunday is more important than how his team do it.

Belgium's players criticised the tactics France used in its 1-0 semi-final win as Didier Deschamps' team sat deep and Samuel Umtiti's headed goal came from a corner, but Griezmann dismissed the criticism.

“I don't care. I want the star (on my shirt for World Cup winners). If I get that star, I don't care about how we play,” the 27-year-old Atletico Madrid forward told a press conference at France's training base outside Moscow.

Griezmann said he had changed the way he plays for France in order to benefit the team.

He finished top scorer at Euro 2016 with six goals but France lost the final to Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal on home soil.

He has scored three goals in Russia, two from penalties and one largely thanks to a goalkeeping howler from Uruguay's Fernando Muslera, but he has also contributed two assists.

“I was top scorer but we lost, so I said to myself: 'I am going to score less to see if we can win'. My game is changing, now I am more likely to dictate the rhythm or hold onto the ball. If I score, then that's great, but I am more a player who thinks of the team than of scoring.”

After a slow start in Russia, France has picked up form. Its blend of experienced campaigners like Griezmann and Paul Pogba, and young stars like Kylian Mbappe and Benjamin Pavard, ensures it is the bookmakers' favourites.

France lost the Euro 2016 final to Portugal at Stade de France after a late goal from Eder.   -  Getty

 

Euro memories still alive

Midfielder Blaise Matuidi said the defeat in the Euro 2016 final -- when France seemed to freeze in front of its own fans at the Stade de France in Paris and Portugal nicked a 1-0 win -- would be in many of the players' minds when they walk out at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.

“The tears have dried from Euro 2016 but it's still there in a little corner of people's minds,” Matuidi said on Friday.

“It will be useful for us on Sunday, even if I don't like to keep bringing up the past. It will serve as a lesson to us and it means we know what it is to play in a final.

“We'll approach it differently and hope that we play really well and win it. It's up to us to put everything into place to achieve our dream of lifting the World Cup.”

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