In line with his galley season with Atlético, Antoine Griezmann has displayed a disturbing face during his last outings with the France team. He is not the first to experience a long period of scarcity in selection.
The most mocking minds will say that even Lionel Messi has scored more goals than him this season. In La Liga, Antoine Griezmann ended the 2021-2022 financial year in 88th place in the ranking of the top scorers in La Liga. With only three achievements in 29 appearances. Or as much as the former Toulouse Oscar Trejo with Rayo Vallecano. It is also half the total achieved by Luuk de Jong with Barcelona or Nabil Fekir with Betis Sevilla. At 31, “Grizou” had a more than difficult season with Atlético de Madrid. On a collective level since the Colchoneros finished behind their two rivals in the standings, Real and Barça. And therefore from an individual point of view with statistics (and benefits) to say the least disappointing. Since his professional debut in 2010, the Frenchman had never presented such a starving record. His return to Atlético last summer should however allow him to regain confidence and efficiency after two mixed years in Catalonia.
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On arrival, the observation is relentless: if he was not helped by the tactical trial and error of Diego Simeone and a muscle injury this winter, he did not have the expected performance. And that’s not the only problem anymore. Until now, his bad periods in the club had not really had an impact on his performance with the Blues. The selection sometimes gave him a breath of fresh air when the criticism was strongest during his time at Barça. This time everything is different. As if the evil was deeper. As if he was mentally affected, less dashing physically and in full doubt on the ground. Already in difficulty against Denmark (1-2), he was not more inspired when he entered the game in Croatia (1-1) and showed a very worrying face on Friday in Austria (1-1). No one was used to seeing him lose so many balls, miss passes that were supposed to be easy for such a player and miss at this sharp point. Griezmann today gives the impression of no longer having pep, of being extinguished. And its scarcity is spreading. Again and again.
The previous Guivarc’h, Benzema, Giroud…
Club and selection combined, he is now on a terrible streak of 1387 minutes without scoring. The last goalkeeper he beat is called Alvaro Fernandez. It was on January 6, against Rayo Majadahonda in the King’s Cup (5-0). With the France team, he has not found the net since November 13 and this penalty scored against Kazakhstan (8-0). Nothing to worry about Didier Deschamps, at least for the moment. “It’s not his best period. But I don’t question what he is capable of doing,” repeated the coach this week. Griezmann is also supported by his teammates, Karim Benzema in the lead, who knows perfectly well what the native of Mâcon is going through. Between June 2012 and October 2013, the center forward of Real Madrid had gone 15 games (1222 minutes) without scoring with the France team. His ordeal ended with a card inflicted on Australia (6-0) at the Parc des Princes. The public had even chambered him – and at the same time congratulated him – with “He scored, he scored”. Before him, there was also Stéphane Guivarc’h.
Scorer for his first cape against South Africa (2-1) on October 11, 1997, the Breton then had 13 other selections. Without any goal. Not a single pawn to put in their mouths until his last selection against Croatia (3-0) on November 13, 1999. We must also remember Christophe Dugarry, who remained silent for 12 games in the blue jersey between June 1996 and the famous France-South Africa at the World Cup in June 1998. More recently, Olivier Giroud has also been faced with a big dip. Having become world champion in Russia without having scored a single goal, he went 10 games without scoring between May and September 2018. Before chaining the pawns to settle in second place in the ranking of the best scorers in the history of the France team (48 goals) behind Thierry Henry and ahead of… Griezmann (42). With the Blues, the latter is today on a series of 382 minutes without a goal. It would be well advised to correct this anomaly on Monday against the Croats (8:45 p.m.), during the fourth day of the League of Nations, to go on vacation with a little more peace of mind.