France faced Ukraine on matchday one of the qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann starting for the current world champions. The match, taking place at the Stade de France in Paris, got off to a flyer for the hosts with Griezmann scoring a golazo ten minutes in.
Griezmann has been having a tough time of it since he left Atletico Madrid for Barcelona in the summer of 2019 in a big money move. His numbers since have been good, but not to the degree the blaugrana would have expected with the outlay it took to bring the Frenchman to Camp Nou.
There has been green shoots. His performance levels have improved this season, with his on-pitch relationship with Lionel Messi showing signs of life. Competition has hotted up for a place in the starting XI, however, with stars like Ousmane Dembele and the now-injured Ansu Fati occupying privileged places in Ronald Koeman’s mind. Griezmann will hope that his time away with France will see him return to Spain re-energised and full of beans.