France star Antoine Griezmann admitted that Les Bleus‘ World Cup Group C-ending 0-0 draw with Denmark was a dull affair but said he didn’t mind because he often plays that way for Atletico Madrid.
Griezmann, 27, suffered again as Didier Deschamps’ men failed to click in attack and the French No. 7, who was the centre of attention pre-tournament until his future was resolved, apologised to those who were under the impression that both teams would go all-out to win at Luzhniki Stadium.
“Frustrated? No, I am used to playing like that…” Griezmann told journalists in the mixed zone. “At club level, we play that way often. It is true that it was not very pretty to see at the stadium or on TV — I am sorry for the people who expected lots of goals or nice moves, which was not the case here.
“We are through and we topped the group, that can be enough — or not. The reality is that no matter the team, you have to beat them to go all the way.
“We trust ourselves, we know that there are a few things to work on, but we are also confident.”
Olivier Giroud was in agreement with teammate Griezmann that it was not a classic encounter by any stretch of the imagination but told TF1 that France were not the ones guilty of leaving their best football at home.
“We are happy to have finished top and gone through in first place,” said the Chelsea striker. “Now, we must focus on our shortcomings here — especially from the second half.
“We know that we failed in attack, but if I may, for a really good match, there needs to be two teams wanting to play football.”
Deschamps was satisfied with the draw as it meant top spot in Group C and a meeting with Argentina, but the French tactician admitted to TF1 that his team’s momentum suffered as he made six changes to get more squad members a chance to play.
“We did more than Denmark, but at the end, the result was good for both teams,” Deschamps said. “It was complicated, every team in well prepared — it is not easy.
“The changes hurt the team’s momentum, yes, but at least everybody feels involved!”
Steve Mandanda replaced captain Hugo Lloris in goal and was delighted to keep a clean sheet on his World Cup debut and to keep Denmark’s danger man Christian Eriksen quiet.
“It is a great moment — we could only enjoy ourselves at the end, though,” the Marseille shot-stopper and recent Ligue 1 goalkeeper of the season told beIN Sports. “It was a good day for me, personally — it went well.
“I am satisfied, but we need to keep going. Keeping a player like Eriksen at bay feels good, mentally — we were solid and serious.”
Steven Nzonzi, who also made his full World Cup debut against the Danes, preferred to focus on the collective aspect and not the individual.
“I do not want to speak about things personally, rather collectively,” said the Sevilla midfielder. “I think that, once again, we showed that we are a solid team — the aim was to not concede.”
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.