Europa League final: Analysis of Antoine Griezmann as he shows Atletico Madrid what they'll miss

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Antoine Griezmann opens the scoring for Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final.

If this was Antoine Griezmann’s penultimate game for Atletico Madrid, then he is signing off as a hero.

The clinical France forward produced an expert finish in each half against sorry Marseille to hand Diego Simeone’s men a third Europa League trophy since 2009/10. This defining turn during the 3-0 triumph comes amid repeated links to Barcelona in an €100 million (Dh433.7m) summer deal.

Here, we analyse the performance of the coveted star.

STATISTICS 

Goals – 2

Assists – 0

Shots – 3

Shots on target – 2

Touches – 65

Passes – 43

Key passes – 3

Dribbles – 1

Dispossessed – 1

30-SECOND REPORT

Griezmann lit up a damp night at Lyon’s Groupama Stadium.

A woeful first touch from defensive midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa was played into Griezmann’s grateful path by Gabi on 21 minutes. The 27-year-old did the rest, planting France No2 Steve Mandanda with a shimmy and then rolling the ball home.

Even better followed when he dinked in his 29th goal of the campaign to seal it shortly after the break.

His all-round performance is shown by the fact only Spain midfielder Koke (67) had more touches than Griezmann (65).

GOT RIGHT

Unnerving accuracy – Griezmann only had three shots in this tight game. Yet whenever an opening appeared, he struck without any mercy. Both finishes were delightful exhibitions of one of Europe’s great forwards at his lethal best.

Commitment to the end – Atleti president Enrique Cerezo gave hope pre-match that Griezmann will spurn Barca’s advances. But even if he still goes, the fans cannot question his service. Griezmann relentlessly sought the ball out and tracked back with diligence when required.

GOT WRONG

Not on a wavelength – Diego Costa was sold to Chelsea in July 2014, paving the way for Griezmann’s recruitment from Real Sociedad. The pair have been cast together since the former’s, belated, winter return.

But just like in both semi-finals against Arsenal, a noticeable lack of chemistry was apparent until a fine 89th-minute pass eventually led to Gabi’s third.

This gains pertinence if Griezmann does move to Barca. If he is unable to regularly link up with Argentina icon Lionel Messi, admittedly a contrasting player, then his stay will be a short one – just ask Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

KEY MOMENTS

21st min GOAL: Zambo Anguissa’s error was lapped upon by club stalwart Gabi. His instant touch played Griezmann clean through to convert his first shot of the match.

44th min POOR PASS: Costa raced around the back of the Marseille defence as Griezmann headed towards the edge of the penalty box. But a slack pass was intercepted by right-back Bouna Sarr.

49th min GOAL: This was Griezmann and Atleti at their best. A loose ball in midfield was pounced upon and within seconds Koke teed up the onrushing Griezmann. The forward burned off left-back Jordan Amavi and then clipped the ball delightfully over Mandanda.

89th min EXCELLENT PASS: Griezmann had struggled to partner with Costa, but a wonderful pass with the outside of his boot set the Spain international into the clear. The move culminated with Gabi finding the bottom corner for the first time in three years.

VERDICT

Griezmann earned all the applause granted to him when he was hooked at the death.

The hunger in his belly to secure a first major trophy since 2014’s Supercopa de Espana was apparent from the off.

His elevated status is underlined by the fact he struck in every round of the Europa and is the first Frenchman to score twice in a European final.

Atleti, for now, have a superstar on their hands.

RATING: 8/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com.

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Watch: Five talking points from Germany's World Cup 2018 squad announcement

David Cooper 16/05/2018
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Germany boss Joachim Low

Joachim Low has put his focus on winning the World Cup for a second time after agreeing a new contract as Germany coach until 2022.

The German Football Association (DFB) announced the deal shortly before Low named a 27-man provisional squad for the tournament in Russia, which included Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer despite his injury woes.

Check out the video below for the five main talking points to arise from Germany’s squad announcement on Tuesday.

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Diego Maradona makes surprise move to become chairman of Dynamo Brest in Belarus

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Diego Maradona with his Dynamo Brest colours (Twitter/@MatiasMorlaAb).

The latest twist in Argentina legend Diego Maradona’s unpredictable post-playing career has taken him to Belarus after he surprisingly signed on as chairman of ambitious Dynamo Brest.

Maradona, 57, had most recently been employed by Fujairah in the UAE’s First Division League following five years away from coaching. On April 27, he parted ways within hours of his failure to gain automatic promotion to the Arabian Gulf League with his undefeated side – only for a club announcement about a shock one-year renewal three days later to be instantly rubbished.

This latest posting has taken him to the eighth-placed outfit in the 2018 Belarusian Premier League. A three-year contract has been inked, granting the joint FIFA Player of the 20th Century wide-ranging powers.

“Yes, Diego is with us,” Brest tweeted. “Legendary football player Diego Armando Maradona signed a three-year contract with the football club, Dynamo Brest, and took office as chairman of the club’s board.

“Diego Maradona will be engaged in issues of strategic development of the club, as well as interacting with all its structural units – including the children’s academy.

“Maradona will begin his role after the end of the World Cup in Russia.

“In Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi will be held a press conference with the participation of Diego Maradona and representatives of the club. The date of the press conference will be announced shortly.”

The ex-Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli icon was excited about this latest challenge.

“I am president of the club, Dynamo Brest,” he posted on Instagram. “Thanks for the trust and for thinking of me.”

Brest are a club on the up, determined to break BATE Borisov’s grip on the domestic game.

They claimed the Belarusian Cup in 2017 and added the 2018 Belarusian Super Cup with a 2-1 triumph against BATE in March.

Reverberations were felt across the globe late on Tuesday to match those caused when Maradona agreed to end his half-decade exile from the dugout and lead the ambitious Wolves for 2017/18.

But profligacy in front of goal saw a draining 11 draws registered. Their final-day stalemate caused them to be critically knocked into third place by Ittihad Kalba.

In his absence, replacement Dr Abdullah Mesfer defeated the AGL’s bottom-placed side, Hatta, 3-1 on aggregate in the promotion play-offs and earned a top-flight return for the first time since 2015/16.

Al Wasl had previously sacked Maradona in July 2012, halfway through a two-year deal. This followed a trophyless 2011/12.

Prior to this, his contract had not been renewed by Argentina in the wake of a 4-0 quarter-final thrashing by Germany at World Cup 2010.

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