Antoine Griezmann has said that he is ready to set aside personal ambition as he aims to lead France to World Cup glory on Sunday.
Knockout ties against Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium were successfully negotiated by Didier Deschamps’ side, who have not necessarily played enthralling football but who have shown themselves to be an effective tournament side.
As one of their stars, it is natural that Griezmann has been linked with major individual honours, such as the Ballon d’Or, but the forward would readily trade that in for victory on Sunday.
“It’s a chance to win the World Cup, not the Ballon d’Or,” he stressed. “I don’t care if I win the Ballon d’Or or not – I’d give everything to be a world champion.”
Indeed, Griezmann has emphasised the team ethic that he has tried to employ this summer, even if it has had negative consequences on his goal tally.
“Maybe if I was the top scorer in the competition, we would have lost,” he said. “I thought that by scoring few goals, we could win.
“I understand the game… We’re all better together, helping each other in our efforts to play as a team.”
France have not lost in five previous meetings against Croatia, including the semi-final of the 1998 World Cup, when they trailed 1-0 and were controversially reduced to 10 men during the game but still came through to claim a 2-1 success.
Zinedine Zidane scored twice in the final that year as France defeated Brazil 3-0, lifting himself to superstar status in the process, but Griezmann, who has been compared to the former Real Madrid and Juventus playmaker in the past, does not like such comparisons.
"I don't like being called Grizou," he admitted, "I prefer Grizi."