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“Double G” lifts off for France

Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann are proving influential for club and country

Atletico Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna -  La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Media all over Europe reported on what was a sparkling show, the one which took place in Paris on Friday as France won 4-1 over Bulgaria in 2018 World Cup qualifying. And Atletico Madrid’s “Double G”, Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro, won the day.

Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps was happy at the end of the game, where Gameiro scored a brace and Griezmann scored and assisted. Six of France’s last 11 goals have been scored by the duo.

"[Gameiro] is there to score goals,” he said. “He scored two. He was very interesting with his movements. He played for the team and his combination with Antoine worked very well."

It’s worked well in LaLiga, too. Griezmann has scored a goal every 85 minutes, while Gameiro has averaged a goal per 140 minutes, with both players recording a scoring/shots ratio of about 30% as they score, on average, after three shots each. Moreover, the two share the same pass success percentage (77%) as well as the gift to be in the right position at the right time.

This is not surprisingly in line with Los Colchoneros’ striker tradition as Atletico can recall a massive list of cult heroes in its past which includes the likes of Paco Campos, who scored 120 goals in the years between 1939 and 1948, and Fernando Torres passing from the glorious names who made, over a hundred-year history, the identity of the club: Luis Aragones, Pruden, Adrian Escudero, Garate, Baltazar, Manolo, Vieri, Forlan, Aguero, Falcao and Diego Costa.

However, for Les Bleus, the presence of a consistent strike partnership presents a sort of competitive advantage, something the side did not have at Euro 2016. Relying on Double G in the run-up to Russia 2018 depends on the continuity of said consistency, which to this point has been impressive, growing from strength to strength.

But what does it mean in light of Atletico's LaLiga campaign? What statistics suggest, ça va sans dire, it is the great attacking potential for Los Rojiblancos. Looking back over the last three seasons, though, physical and emotional resilience will be a pivotal requirement for Atleti to stay successful as frontrunners of LaLiga.