KEY POINTS

  • Griezmann performed poorly against Portugal Monday
  • France are set to take on Croatia next in the Nations League
  • Griezmann has scored 32 goals for France so far

FC Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann will not be selected for the France national team based on his past performances and record, Les Bleus’ head coach Didier Deschamps said Tuesday.

Griezmann was the Player of the tournament at the 2016 UEFA Euro, having scored six goals, but unfortunately, France had lost the final to Portugal. Two years later, Griezmann was once again in top form in France’s successful campaign at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where the 29-year-old forward had netted four goals.

Ever since Griezmann moved from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona, the French forward has struggled to find his best form, both with club and country. In his first season with the Catalans, Griezmann managed just 15 goals in as many as 48 competitive appearances. Out of the 15 goals, only nine came in La Liga as the reigning champions Barcelona failed to defend their title.

Griezmann produced an unimpressive show in France’s previous match that ended in a dull 0-0 draw against Portugal Monday. While Griezmann seems to have lost some of his touches, his national manager believes that can return as he does not doubt the player’s class, but the past numbers will not help Griezmann bag a place in the XI.

In an interview on the eve of France’s next Nations League clash that is against Croatia, Deschamps said, "I know you're looking at the last game, but look at his stats: 81 caps, 32 goals, 21 assists. It speaks for itself. It doesn't guarantee him anything, like some other players who could have done better against Portugal. I know his talent and what he can give to the team."

Deschamps went on to explain that Griezmann, who plays as both attacking player and offensive midfielder, just needs a little bit of more time.

"Antoine's position, I can talk about it with him, we've done it for a while. I know very well where he's the most effective, the most influential. It's in a central position obviously. He lacks rhythm, you know why. So, he needs a bit of time, he was much better in the second half compared to the first one [against Portugal]. He's an attacking player but, as he runs a lot, sometimes he's an offensive midfielder," added Deschamps in the same interview.

Antoine Griezmann Antoine Griezmann, center, has come to the fore for France in its last two matches at Euro 2016. Photo: Getty Images

Griezmann, who made his senior debut with the France national side in 2014, has scored 32 goals in 82 appearances, while he has 194 goals to his name in club soccer.