Given the responsibility of taking Franck Ribery's place in France's starting XI, it was a big night for Antoine Griezmann.
Born in Macon but spending his key developmental years rising through the ranks at Real Sociedad, Les Bleus wanted a touch of Spanish class to add to their already fine forward line. In the fourth of our daily World Cup scouting reports, Goal runs the rule over the Frenchman’s performance in Porto Alegre...
|PERFORMANCE AGAINST HONDURAS
A lesser team – dare it be said, recent French vintages – would have been provoked by Honduras's approach and fall apart in frustration but Griezmann was a perfect example of Didier Deschamps's side rising above their opponents' rough play with composure and enterprise.
Though he had no direct part in any of his side’s three goals, the Sociedad star was diligent and precise, starting on the left flank but flitting around the opposition half.
Impressively, Griezmann was more confident the further up the pitch. He touched the ball only 44 times but chose each of them well, with a passing accuracy of 91 per cent and a deceptive 100% success rate in the air.
It was an adept performance that impressed Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who was commentating for French television. "What Antoine Griezmann has done has been just amazing," he said on TF1, waxing lyrical about his teamwork and accuracy.
|HE'D BE PERFECT FOR...
Arsenal are the obvious first consideration. Wenger has long been a confessed fan and, should reports of a return to north London for Carlos Vela be borne out, Griezmann would be able to link up with both a former Sociedad team-mate and a fellow France international in Olivier Giroud.
The Gunners could certainly use a little extra punch up front – although what they need most of all is a centre forward as an alternative to Giroud, rather than a partner in crime. The 23-year-old has scoring credentials, though, with 16 in La Liga over 35 games a fine record for a wide player outside of the top three.
Paris Saint-Germain are said to be among the continental giants also chasing him and a link-up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic would suit Griezmann's energetic approach, while Liverpool might struggle to afford him but would get plenty of joy out of a forward so capable of fluidly interchanging positions and shooting from a variety of angles.
|WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
As revealed by Goal in April, Arsenal have made an initial move for the winger and look the most likely Premier League club to sign Griezmann, if any.
Whatever happens, it is hard to imagine the France international staying at Sociedad this summer. His stock is high in Spain right now and, with Vela also set to leave, now looks the best time to get a big move.
Reports in Spain have credited Real Madrid with an approach for Griezmann, while PSG remain in the discussion for a player who is rated in the £25 million range. After France’s bright start on Sunday, it could be a summer to remember for the young forward.
Follow George Ankers on