Misfiring Griezmann can’t lead France to Euro 2016 glory

Antoine Griezmann France Euro 2016

France forward Antoine Griezmann underperformed as Les Blues suffered a narrow defeat to Portugal in the final of Euro 2016 on Sunday night, missing two gilt-edged chances, and after the game admitted being “frustrated” at not beating the goalkeeper. “We hit the post, I had chances as well and I almost scored. The goalkeeper played well, too. It’s frustrating, but we must come back stronger,” said the Atletico Madrid man.

Griezmann had two headed efforts either side of half-time, forcing a finger-tip save from the impressive Rui Patricio in the Portugal goal, and putting another chance over the bar from close range when it looked easier for him to score. Given how good his heading has been in the Euros so far, it was a shock to see the Frenchman spurn such an opportunity, but his profligacy summed up Les Blues’ evening.

France were big favourites to win in the final after impressively beating Germany in the semi-final, but they couldn’t breach a stubborn Portugal backline at the Stade de France to get themselves ahead. “It’s cruel and magnificent at the same time. We’ve lived through some extraordinary moments, and the saddest moments as well. We have to learn. But tonight we gave it all and we have no regrets.”

Griezmann picked up the Golden Boot for his six goals and two assists in Euro 2016, and while pleased to be so prolific, the Atletico forward admitted it was hard to celebrate off the back of France’s final defeat. The 25-year-old formed a potent partnership with Olivier Giroud in the latter stages, but the two struggled on Sunday, and Griezmann said he’s too disappointed to cherish winning the Golden Boot award.

“Maybe later I can feel proud, but for now, it’s about the group. I’m very disappointed for my team-mates. I really wanted to offer them this trophy, but I couldn’t score and I’m disappointed. I’m proud of the squad, proud of everybody. Now we have to come back stronger. This time we didn’t manage it, unlike against Germany. It is a pity,” he added.

France’s only defeat in the tournament came in the final, and it was only the second time they were shutout by an opponent. Portugal made waves in the Euros for their defensive record, and such a robust approach was the difference in the end. Portugal had ground France down by extra time, and were looking more likely of scoring in their brief forays forward.

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