Griezmann has been rigorously scrutinized for his form for much of the past 15 months since he completed the €120 million transfer from Atletico Madrid to Barça.

Lloris back Antoine Griezmann

Hugo Lloris has backed Antoine Griezmann from critics and insists that the Barcelona forward remains the essential player in France. Griezmann has been rigorously scrutinized for his form for much of the past 15 months since he completed the €120 million transfer from Atletico Madrid to Barça. The 29-year-old was not entirely at ease in the Catalan forward line, with his last LaLiga goal – one of nine he scored last season – coming in a 4-1 win at Villarreal on 5 July. Griezmann, who scored a goal in the 7-1 friendly thrashing Ukraine’s, also scored in the 4-2 Nations League win over Croatia, but ahead of Wednesday’s rematch in Zagreb is once again facing accusations of poor form for the national team. In a 0-0 draw against Portugal on Sunday, Griezmann, playing at No. 10 behind Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappé, managed just two shots and created one chance for teammates.

All players have ups and downs

However, he attempted 55 assists in the opposition half – the most serving – and emphasized his importance off the ball, winning back possession a game-high 11 times. Lloris believes that it is that kind quality that will always be important, even if the current target for Griezmann’s output is reduced. “You can’t question a player like Antoine Griezmann because of everything he has done and everything he has brought to France in recent years,” the Tottenham goalkeeper told reporters on Tuesday. “All players have their ups and downs. There are times when you succeed more than others. He is going through a bit of a difficult period in attack right now. But above all, I see a player who is ready to defend and put effort into his teammates. There is no question about that.

“We have to keep our backs to the wall and help him too. He completely trusts us. We know that he can make a difference in the moments that are important for France. Let’s be patient, but in any case, France can be strong only if we are all united and not pointing the finger at any individual player”. Lloris is looking forward to Wednesday’s game at Stadion Maksimir, where several fans will be permitted. “The presence of supporters is, of course, good news,” he added. “Inevitably there will be a bit of hostility, but it is good for the French players to be able to overcome adversity to win this match. “This is our goal, anyway. We will give everything to give the right performance to win.”