France striker Antoine Griezmann has explained his respectful act after scoring his third goal of the 2018 World Cup.
A deep-rooted respect for Uruguay was the reason he did not celebrate his goal for France that confirmed the South Americans’ exit from the World Cup on Friday.
The 27-year-old added to Raphael Varane’s first-half header with a second just after the hour mark, effectively killing the contest, although the goal owed as much to a howler from goalkeeper Fernando Muslera as it did the quality of Griezmann’s strike.
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The Atletico Madrid man has spoken numerous times of his affection for Uruguay, having been handed his debut at Real Sociedad by mentor Martin Lasarte and worked alongside the likes of Diego Godin – the godfather to his daughter Mia – in the Spanish capital.
He said: “I didn’t celebrate because when I started as a professional I was supported by a Uruguayan who taught me the good and the bad in football and I have a lot of respect for Uruguay.
— Budweiser (@Budweiser) July 6, 2018
“I was also playing against friends, so I thought it was normal not to celebrate.
MOTM Antoine Griezmann on not celebrating his goal: "I didn't celebrate because when I started as a professional I was supported by a Uruguayan who taught me the good and the bad in football. I have a lot of respect for Uruguay." #FRA #URU
— Joe Wright (@JoeWright004) July 6, 2018
“They’re a tough team, like Atletico Madrid. Everyone works hard in attack and defence. It’s something I see day in day out and I love Uruguayans and Uruguayan culture, so I have a lot of respect for them.”
Griezmann received plenty of love online for his decision not to celebrate the lucky goal, with many presuming it was partly because of the goalkeeping error.
That was really sportsmanlike of Griezmann not to "celebrate" the goal because it was partly a goalkeeper error.
— Bianca Gonzalez (@iamsuperbianca) July 6, 2018
So Antoine Griezmann did not celebrate because of his friendship with Diego Godin???
— MVP_SAWADINHO® (@Sawadinho1) July 6, 2018
Antoine Griezmann refusing to celebrate because he scored an unlucky save by Fernando Muslera. Respect.
— Bernard Roque (@BernardRoq) July 6, 2018
griezmann didn’t celebrate the goal because he has love and respect for uruguay. i love him so much
— romina 🇺🇾 (@DOLANTOKNJ) July 6, 2018
France ground out the win in a match high on energy but low on quality to set up a last-four clash with either Brazil or Belgium, who meet in Kazan.
Griezmann added: “We have a team who can hurt any defence. We have to continue working but when we focus on our style, we have a better chance of winning.
“We have people who know how to manage a game. I do something similar: when I have the ball, I try to take the game to where I want it to be.”