Paris: This is Antoine Griezmann's moment. Just 16 years ago he was a nine-year-old who yelled, jumped and cheered at his family home when David Trezeguet scored his golden goal during the Euro 2000 football championship final.
That was the last time France won the European cup. Now it is Griezmann who has dazzled. He has done so with his club, Atletico Madrid, during the whole Spanish League season and carried on during the Euro Cup, scoring six goals, three more than his immediate competitors, French colleagues Olivier Giroud and Dimitri Payet, reports Efe.
He was decisive during the pre-quarterfinal against Ireland -- his two goals within four minutes proving crucial for the team's recovery. The 25-year-old scored in the quarter-final against Iceland, with a perfect lob during a counter-attack and he proved decisive in the semi-final facing World Champions Germany.
Right from the start, Griezmann showed his top form, his agility and that dribbling ability that made him unstoppable.
Griezmann scored both goals, crowning an impeccable match. He was the star behind every goal opportunity and the player who propelled France to the Euro Final with a 2-0 score against a Germany that succumbed to the sensational forward.
Griezmann's six goals at a single European Championship is bettered only by countryman Michel Platini's nine-goal haul at Euro 1984, while the 25-year-old has now scored as many goals for France at the Euros as Thierry Henry (six).
"He's (Griezmann) a great player and he proved that against Germany, he works very hard, along with Olivier Giroud from a defensive perspective he made us a very compact unit," France chief coach Deschamps said after the win.
"He has this speed and technical ability, he had a few chances. He's a very important player just as he has been with Atletico Madrid throughout the season,” the coach, who captained France to 1998 World Cup and 2000 Euro titles, added.
He had already scored 40 goals this season. He was Atletico's top scorer in La Liga with 32 goals, to which one must add eight goals scored with France and in friendlies.
On Sunday Griezmann faces an unforgettable moment at the Stade de France. The final awaits him Sunday at the Saint Denis stadium against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.
In his native soil, surrounded by an adoring crowd, under the gaze of untold millions worldwide, he has the chance to place his team at the Euro Cup summit, 16 years after Trezeguet's "golden" goal against Italy.
That was a day the nine-year-old never forgot.
Now, in 2016, comes that child's golden moment.
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Updated Date: Jul 09, 2016 18:21:42 IST