Antoine Griezmann – Player Analysis – 2022 World Cup

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Antoine Griezmann has been a pivotal figurehead in each of Didier Deschamps’ major tournament successes, but the 2022 World Cup might just be his best of all. The French playmaker has created more chances than any other player at the tournament (4 per 90), bagging 3 assists in his 6 appearances as he works to support the wondrous efforts of Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappé. Griezmann’s been perfect as a ’10’ for France – a role that few dare to play him in despite his incredible tactical nous and uncanny awareness of space. Here is our analysis of Antoine Griezmann ahead of the 2022 World Cup Final.

STYLE OF PLAY & ROLE

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Antoine Griezmann has been the pinnacle of a ‘Creative Ten’ at the tournament, creating more chances than any other player, and consistently finding space to receive in between the lines and help his team evade pressure. Within that creative role, he’s preferred to hang out closer to his ex-Barca teammate Ousmane Dembélé, as Giroud and Mbappé skew more toward the left. By nature of floating around in the right-half-spaces more than the left, Griezmann pulls defenders and attention away from Kylian Mbappé – France’s key danger man.

Antoine Griezmann’s heatmap at the 2022 World Cup (after semi-finals).

But being in that ’10’ slot hasn’t been the same as other ’10’s’ throughout time. He’s been handed an incredibly defensive role in the side, helping to force play away from Mbappé’s side, which the French leave more exposed. This is another reason why his heatmap skews slightly more to the right. He’ll either adopt a position to the right of Giroud in the team’s high to mid-block, or engage as part of a stern unit to the right of Tchouaméni deeper on the field. From this position, he’s been instrumental to breaking up play, clearing the ball out of danger, and kickstarting counter attacking thrusts.

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As a result of his importance across every phase, there hasn’t been a single match in which the Frenchman has failed to make his mark on the match. Whether it be through a stunning defensive display, an immaculate attacking effort, or both, Griezmann has just been a non-stop machine for Didier Deschamps‘ side.

DEFENSIVE PRINCIPLES

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As mentioned, Antoine Griezmann has played a pivotal part in the defensive phase, coming all the way back to help his team defend the penalty area and the width of the eighteen. He’s been brilliant in making defensive actions throughout the phases and limiting an opposition ’10’ from finding space to receive, posting 3.3 tackles + interceptions per 90 across his six appearances. While it’s a bit unorthodox for a ’10’, Griezmann will even find himself in the position of a ‘6’ at times, as others crowd around the ball inside the box.

Being in this position means that not only can Griezmann then be responsible for clearing the ball out of danger, but also kickstarting counter-attacks.

Even when initially tracking the opposition ‘6’, the Frenchman is quick to gallop back and close down a player lurking at the edge of the box. In fact, while he’s been brilliant when given enough time to set up within the shape, Griezmann’s been brilliant at defending in transition this tournament.

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He doesn’t necessarily naturally possess the speed and physicality required of a top-tier defensive player, but Griezmann is an incredibly hard-working, determined off-the-ball grinder. He’s existed for years in an Atletico team famous for defending, and knows how to position his body in a manner that forces the opposition into traps. Morocco constantly tried to pounce on the break to hurt Deschamps’ men, but the likes of Griezmann were always hustling and hurrying back to stop any shot of that happening.

Having that right-sided role also makes Griezmann key to creating defensive overloads on the right to begin with, as Dembélé, Kounde and the Atletico man work together to defend in triangular formation and cope with any potential interchange.

The calls for Griezmann to be the Player of the Tournament come as a direct result of his fantastic play throughout the phases – including the defensive side of the game. It’s arguable that no player has made a greater impact at both ends for their nation, making Griezmann an essential piece to this France puzzle.

ATTACKING PRINCIPLES

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Even despite all the firepower from the likes of Mbappé and Dembélé, Antoine Griezmann has made himself a magnet to the ball at this tournament. He’s constantly drifting any which way to pick up possession in any area of the pitch that best suits the situation, and he’s completely comfortable shifting all the way out into the wide areas to rotate with his mates and evade pressurized situations. The variety of his movement makes him an incredibly difficult player to man-mark, and allows for variability in the French attack to spark new life and create chaos.

Not only is he phenomenal at finding the spaces to receive, but he’s equally capable of finding space to pass the torch onto others.

Moreover, Griezmann is exceptional at understanding how and when to come toward the ball. Against sides like Morocco that are incredibly organized defensively, Griezmann has no problem coming in-field to pick up possession. He then scans for the right moments to play line breaking passes over the top, such as magnificent long passes into the likes of Mbappé and Giroud.

If he’s still situated in a higher position from the lack of transition time, the 31-year-old will also frequently kick-start counter attacking moves by picking up possession in the right-half-spaces, and then looking to play forward to one of the dynamic duo in front of him.

He knows how and when to play forward on the break, and has demonstrated an incredible ability to assess the proper weight of pass at the tournament. With the excellent back-to-goal hold-up play of Giroud, astute dribbling of Ousmane Dembélé, and powerful pace of Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann then has several threats that he can bounce around and work his magic.

CONCLUSION

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Throughout the tournament, Antoine Griezmann has been the key man from both an attacking and defensive perspective for Didier Deschamps’ France. 3 assists in 6 matches doesn’t even do his 4 key passes per 90 justice, and this is impressive enough on its own; even without his brilliant defensive stats backing up his fantastic tournament display. If France are to win the 2022 World Cup, Griezmann will need to be on top of his game just as he has done throughout each of his six fixtures. Arguably no player has made more of an impact at this tournament, and that could end up becoming true in the form of a ‘Golden Ball’ irrespective of whether or not France win the World Cup for a successive year.


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So there it is! Our tactical analysis of Antoine Griezmann at the 2022 World Cup. Be sure to check out more of our Player Analyses, and follow on social media @mastermindsite to never miss an update. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

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