World Cup 2018: Antoine Griezmann hits back at Thibaut Courtois for 'anti-football' comment
After 62 matches at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, we are down to the final two games as France take on Croatia in the final after England take on Belgium in the third-place playoff.
Although France beat Belgium 1-0 to reach the final, it appears that the rivalry is still not over off the field. The two countries share a border and the semi-final was billed as a European derby of sorts, much like Spain vs Portugal earlier in the group stages of the tournament.
Also read: France 1-0 Belgium - 5 Talking Points
Courtois blasts 'anti-football' France
After the 1-0 defeat to France, Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was far from happy with the result and probably let his emotions get the better of him when he criticised France for their approach to the game.
"It’s just an anti-football team," the Chelsea goalkeeper said. "Their striker plays 30 metres from his own goal. France heads a corner and does nothing more than defend."
It was a bizarre comment as the semi-final was one of the most tactically intriguing games of the tournament. Moreover, France actually had more shots on goal than Belgium did over the course of 90 minutes.
France outshot Belgium 19-9 and they had 5 shots on target to Belgium's 3. Les Bleus' defence had been very effective at keeping the Red Devils' attack at bay throughout the game.
But it is what he said next that ruffled a few feathers.
"I would have preferred to have lost in the quarter-finals to Brazil," the goalkeeper continued. "At least that was a team that wanted to play football."
Even Belgian captain Eden Hazard was unforgiving in his verdict of the result, saying: "I prefer to lose with this Belgium than win with that France."
Griezmann retorts and shuts down Courtois
When France forward Antoine Griezmann was asked about Courtois' comments, he did not take kindly to the goalkeeper's opinions and only had this to say.
"Does Thibaut Courtois think that at Chelsea he plays Barcelona football?"
After winning the Premier League title in 2016/17, Chelsea were painful to watch in Antonio Conte's second season and did not even top the table once as defending champions.
They were well off the pace in the title race by January and eventually finished fifth, even failing to qualify for the Champions League.
As for Griezmann, all he cares about is winning the World Cup - no matter what it takes.
"I don’t care how, I want a second star to be on this shirt. That is all," he concluded.
France play Croatia in the final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday.