Antoine Griezmann said he could not care less about France’s style of football as long as they win the World Cup on Sunday against Croatia.
Belgium’s Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois both criticised France’s tactics following the teams’ semifinal on Tuesday, with Hazard saying that he would “prefer to lose with Belgium than win with France.”
When asked to respond to the Belgium players’ comments at a news conference on Friday, Griezmann interrupted the question by saying, “I don’t care.”
“Don’t even talk to me about this,” Griezmann said. “Courtois played for Atletico as well. He won trophies there and he was not playing attacking football. I don’t care what our style is. All I want is another star on the shirt. I don’t care how we get it. I want it.”
Griezmann said after the game against Belgium, which France won 1-0, that defending and scoring from a set piece “was a bit like Atletico [Madrid].”
He echoed those comments on Friday, recognising that there are similarities between the way the two sides approach a game.
“The defence is the most important thing for our style,” he said. “It’s the base. It is the style we have in my club as well with Diego Simeone, so I am used to it. I know what to do — how and when to accelerate or slow down the game.”
With a combined 10 goals in the competition, France have scored fewer times than any of the four semifinalists — and four of those were against Argentina in the round of 16.
Griezmann, who has scored only three goals in the World Cup thus far, said that his approach has changed since he scored six goals at Euro 2016.
“I was the top goal scorer in 2016 and we lost, so I told myself this time that I will score less to see if we can win,” he said. “My game has changed. I’m thinking more about the team now.”
And although a good performance in the final could earn Griezmann the Ballon d’Or at the end of the year — he said after Atletico won the Europa League that he is one of the three best players in the world — he insisted the individual honours do not matter.
“The only thing I’m thinking about right now is the World Cup,” Griezmann said. “I want to give everything to win it. I don’t care about the Ballon d’Or or anything else.
“Playing in a World Cup is what you dream of as a kid. It is here. I’m impatient. We have the opportunity to achieve something amazing. I’m so proud to be French. We all have to be proud to be French. We have a beautiful country, a great team, some handsome journalists. Let’s be proud to be French. I want people back home to say that, too.”
And, continuing his light-hearted mode, he joked about how he will prepare to face Croatia on Sunday.
“I will play Fortnite all day, I will drink my mate and think about enjoying football,” Griezmann said. “I won’t change my ritual of touching Adil Rami’s moustache before the game either. It has brought me luck so far so I’m not changing anything.”