POST TIME: 8 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Griezmann didn’t celebrate goal out of ‘respect’ for Uruguay

Griezmann didn’t celebrate goal  out of ‘respect’ for Uruguay

Uruguay's midfielder Lucas Torreira (R) controls the ball past France's forward Antoine Griezmann during the quarterfinal match at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod on Friday. AFP PHOTO

AFP, NIZHNY NOVGOROD: Antoine Griezmann said he did not celebrate his goal against Uruguay in the World Cup quarter-final out of “respect” for the South American nation. Griezmann scored France’s second goal in the 2-0 win in the 61st minute, when his long-range strike found its way into the net after a mistake from Uruguay’s goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Instead of celebrating, Griezmann stood still as French players rushed to him, despite scoring the goal that helped secure his country’s first World Cup semi-final in 12 years.

“I didn’t celebrate that goal because when I started as a professional footballer I was supported by a Uruguayan, who showed me the good and the bad of football,” he said.

“Out of respect, I thought it was not appropriate to celebrate that goal.”

In the run-up to the match, Griezmann had spoken about his affinity with Uruguay and his friendship with two Uruguayan players, Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin.

Griezmann plays his club football with Gimenez and Godin at Atletico Madrid and even turned up at the airport wearing a Uruguay shirt to greet his teammates when they qualified for Russia.

Before Friday’s match, Griezmann turned up at the Nizhny Novgorod stadium drinking mate tea, a popular drink in Uruguay.

Not celebrating a goal against a former club has become standard in domestic football, but Griezmann may have been the first player to do at international level, especially at a World Cup.

However he has failed to convince everyone about his affinity with Uruguay.

Antoine Griezmann’s decision not to celebrate his World Cup quarter-final goal out of respect for Uruguay has received a lukewarm response from Luis Suarez.

Suarez, however, rejected the gesture as hollow given Griezmann’s role in ending his nation’s tournament. "He’s not Uruguayan, he’s French and he scored a goal," the Barcelona star told reporters.