Antoine Griezmann on France's hopes for UEFA EURO 2020
Friday, 11 June 2021
The Barcelona forward explains how Les Bleus plan to put their EURO 2016 final defeat in the past.
Article top media content
Top scorer at UEFA EURO 2016 with six goals, Antoine Griezmann experienced agony in the final as hosts France lost to Portugal in extra time.
Les Bleus atoned for that failure by winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and have a chance to match the achievement of the France sides that won the 1998 World Cup and EURO 2000 if they can add the European title to their global crown this summer. Now one of the senior members of the squad at 30, the Barcelona forward is eager to keep pushing himself to greater heights.
On France's EURO 2020 prospects
"[EURO 2020] will be a good competition, where people will be expectant of us as we're the World Cup holders. After what happened in 2016, we're eager to lift the trophy. That's our aim.
"We have some exceptional players as well with the likes of Kylian Mbappé, who is a future superstar. The players who are still here from 2016 have gained more experience. They lost in the final and that always hurts. They know what it feels like and they don't want to go through that again. It pushes you, in the crucial moments, to go and get the win."
On his role in the squad
"On the pitch, I always try to be a good example, be it through hard work or by helping my team-mates. It's about helping the team go as far as possible. Off the pitch, I don't speak a lot. I try and make sure there is a good atmosphere in the changing room and have a laugh with my team-mates, but I still want to get better and to work hard.
"I want to leave my mark on the French national team. It's a source of immense pride to play for France and to wear that shirt. We all want to break records, to do your best. I've been in the team since 2014; I always enjoy taking the field and wearing the shirt, and why wouldn't you try to aim as high as possible in terms of goals, assists, caps? I'm still here and I'm trying to stay here as long as possible."
On the pain of losing the EURO 2016 final
"We were tired. We'd only had three days since the semi-final. It was very difficult to rest and get your strength back. So, we were playing fatigued – you could see that at the end of the game. That's how it is. Portugal were fresher; they played well. Congrats to them. We now have another opportunity to win the EURO.
"I was happy and satisfied with my performance at the EURO. My performance levels were really good. The fact we lost in the final kind of spoiled it. I lost two consecutive finals in two months, the Champions League final and the EURO final. The holiday after all that wasn't the best. But it helps you to come back stronger, even if it's painful at first."
On France coach Didier Deschamps
"He's someone who has a big impact. He knows everything, he's won everything. We're taking as much on board as possible. He knows how to manage big occasions, big matches. He knows how to manage a squad. We saw it in 2018: the atmosphere on and off the pitch was incredible. We have the best possible national team coach.
"He gave me the opportunity to win my first cap. I owe him everything when it comes to the national team, from the start until now. I know that he always trusted me, be it in 2014 or nowadays. I have huge respect for him. I want to give everything on the pitch for him. I think that when a player thinks that way, it's self-explanatory. I'm very happy to play for him and I fully support him.
"The journey is still long; our squad is still young. We're eager to write more chapters and it starts with the EURO."