With doubts over Franck Ribery’s fitness, France are looking for a new attacking hero, and Arsenal target, Antoine Griezmann, once again showed that he has every it takes to replace the Bayern Munich winger with an excellent 25 minute cameo as France drew 1-1 with Paraguay in Nice on Sunday night.
Before kick-off rumours were rife in the French press that Ribery’s back injury would keep him out of the World Cup. The 31-year-old has missed France’s last three friendlies and there are concerns over if included in the squad, how fit the Ballon d’Or nominee would be for the first game against Honduras.
Since making his debut against Netherlands in March, the 23-year-old Griezmann has been superb for Les Bleus. His debut was steady, unspectacular but encouraging. On Tuesday against Norway he was one of the best players on the pitch then on Sunday night he scored his first ever international goal after coming on as a substitute.
The game was heading towards a goalless draw until the 82nd minute. Valbuena curled in a corner, the Paraguayan defence couldn’t clear it properly, and the ball then fell to the feet of Griezmann. The Real Sociedad winger took a touch before curling his right-foot shot high towards the back post.
Everyone was beaten by the excellent shot, Paraguay ‘keeper Silva could only watch as it nestled in the far corner.
Unfortunately, France couldn’t hold on and conceded a late equaliser, defensively they have some work to do, but going forward with Griezmann the best option to start against Honduras, the future is very bright.
During the game Arsene Wenger made a comment that Griezmann’s goal was very much like that of Robert Pires. Praise indeed from the Arsenal boss and surely a clear sign that the French coach is very impressed by the young forward.
The ball is now in Wenger’s court. If he wants to make Griezmann an Arsenal player this summer, he needs to act sooner or later. With every game that Griezmann plays for France this summer the list of admirers continues to grow. It would be a disaster if the Gunners were to let another class young player fall out of their grasp.