France striker ‘off the pace’ v Netherlands – Deschamps

    France head coach Didier Deschamps has described Antoine Griezmann as “off the pace on the technical front” after the striker missed two huge chances in his side’s 0-0 draw with the Netherlands at Uefa Euro 2024.

    Griezmann, who has scored 44 times for Les Bleus, failed to connect cleanly in unmarked positions at close range during either half in Leipzig, where Kylian Mbappe was an unused substitute as France’s most prolific player recovers from a broken nose.

    “Unfortunately, we were unable to find the back of the net,” Deschamps said. “It was a high-intensity game and I was happy with what my boys pulled out of the bag tonight, even though I was disappointed with our lack of efficiency in front of goal.

    “I would be more worried if we weren’t creating chances. Antoine Griezmann was better than in the first game [1-0 win over Austria] but was perhaps slightly off the pace on the technical front, which I’m not used to with him. He was positioned higher up the pitch today because we had three other midfielders.”

    France v Netherlands: ‘Positives to take’

    One of those midfielders, Aurelien Tchouameni, replaced Mbappe in the starting line-up as France reverted to the 4-4-2 formation with which they won the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

    Deschamps has now seen his side draw blanks in three of their last six matches. Maximilian Wober’s own goal gave them victory over Austria, meaning no France player has scored at Euro 2024.

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    “We’re doing great things up front,” said Deschamps, whose forward line comprised Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Marcus Thuram.

    “There are a lot of positives to take away and you have to consider the opponents, both of whom have been strong. But to win games, you need to score goals.

    “We’ll be looking at that and hoping to improve for the next game so we can meet our objective of making it through to the next round.”

    Inter Milan’s Thuram also showed a lack of composure when he broke clear before the break, firing a shot over the crossbar as France finished with an expected goals tally of 1.42 to Oranje’s 0.33.

    France at Euro 2024

    France are in a strong position to win their group because they play Poland, who have lost twice and been eliminated, in their third match on Tuesday.

    Mbappe suffered his injury late on against Austria and is expected to play in a custom-made protective mask when the 25-year-old Real Madrid signing returns.

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