Griezmann on how France have matured since their Euros exit

2 months ago

France are back in the last 16 of a major tournament after reaching that stage at last year’s European Championship and memories of their shock elimination by Switzerland will still be fresh when they take on Poland at the World Cup on Sunday. Les Bleus were 3-1 up against the Swiss but conceded two goals in the last 10 minutes before going out on penalties.

“I think we were too relaxed against Switzerland,” attacking midfielder Antoine Griezmann told a news conference on Friday. “When we were 3-1 up we thought it was over. In big competitions you realize that there are no easy opponents, it’s going to be the same against Poland. Nothing is guaranteed, we will need to be focused from the first to the last second.

“We have to bear in mind that nothing can be taken for granted.” Poland have two major assets – striker Robert Lewandowski, and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who has already stopped two penalties in three games here. The best way not to test Szczesny from the spot would be to seal qualification within regulation time.

“We’re going to do everything to avoid going to penalties,” said defender William Saliba. “We however have to work on that during training.”

France have not been awarded a penalty at this World Cup yet and Griezmann would not say who would be taking them should the opportunity present itself at the Al Thumama stadium. “Who takes penalties is very clear for us. But I will not give Szczesny any info, he’s already good enough. Let’s keep it a surprise,” said Griezmann.

“We’re going to work on this today, or more likely tomorrow because today’s training session is open to the media,” he added with a smile. The winner of the France v Poland clash will face either England or Senegal in the quarter-finals.