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Griezmann v Cristiano, France v Portugal, Atlético v Real Madrid


France v Portugal – or should that be, Griezmann v Cristiano? I’ll return again to the reductionist style that was used to hype up the Portugal-Wales (Cristiano v Bale) semifinal, because well, it worked. Since Spain’s exit, we’ve had a bit of consolation in how this tournament has developed, offering us a focus on some familiar faces. It has spiced things up a bit for the neutral football fan, without which would have left us with a rather ‘so-so’ tournament. For starters, we’ve got Barcelona new boy Umtiti and Sevilla’s Rami (at least one of them will play) as well as Paul Pogba (who Real Madrid are more than just interested in). But above all, we’ve got Greizmann and Cristiano. In the Spanish capital, Atleti fans will be with France, the Madristas with Portugal.

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France and Portugal are nations that we Spanish people know well. Both our neighbours, one on either side. You could almost say that Spain is like the arithmetic average between the two in almost everything. Although not in football, as the style of football they play is quite the opposite to the one that brought La Roja so many successes in recent years (but now unfortunately seem to have long passed!). Neither of their teams risk anything: both industrious and fairly solid at the back. The other thing in common that they have is a certain reliance on their respective phenomenon up front.

Young cowboy v The old timer 

While Cristiano has lost a bit of mobility, he’s become a pure number nine in meantime. He hasn’t had a wonderful championship, but he’s popped up when he’s needed to, and it’s thanks to him that Portugal find themselves in the final. Mainly thanks to him yes, but also the hard work of others, especially Renato. Quite similarly, France are always looking for Griezmann, who can move more. He comes and goes, appears by surprise, and dances around Giroud, who gives him license to roam and land the killer blow. Just like that he’s found the net six times. Today they both go face to face, the young cowboy against the old-timer in a game of Western shootout. They’re on main-street and everyone is watching, who’ll draw their gun the fastest?