KEIR RADNEDGE in MOSCOW: Antoine Griezmann revealed in the euphoric aftermath of Frane’s World Cup Final victory, that he was initially in the dark about the penalty award which proved a crucial turning point.
The score was 1-1 with Croatia late in the first half in the Luzhniki Stadium when Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana changed his mind about a goal kick and, after checking with his pitchside monitor, awarded France a penalty instead.
Pitana had decided, after viewing the video replays, that Ivan Perisic had handled after a corner. Griezmann then stepped up to shoot France into a 2-1 lead which they eventually extended to 4-2.
He said: “When the referee went to look at the video I didn’t know. I asked Olivier [Giroud] and he told me there had been a handball. When he blew for the penalty I pretended it was an ordinary league match so I could concentrate in the same way as usual and, happily, it worked.”
Griezmann is one among a number of the French players with mixed immigrant background. He has German and Portuguese family background and learned much of his footballer as a teenager with Real Sociedad in the Spanish Basque region. But he sidestepped a question about ethnic diversity as neatly as he had sidestepped the Croatia defence on the way to being designated man of the match.
He said: “This victory was for the France we all love. We have a lot of players from different origins but we are all united when we put on the same jersey with the cocquerel, we have the same state of mind and everything we do we do for each other and that’s beautiful to see.”
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