World Cup Qatar 2022
The all-time top scorer for the French team puts the current world champion in the semifinals after transforming a great cross from Griezmann
Olivier Giroud is used to living in the shadows. The spotlights have always looked for more glamorous, spectacular, seductive companions for the cameras, but the one from Chambéry has never stopped complying and extracting gold from the French mine. He is not the best striker in the world, but he is a ‘9’ with a capital letter. He works, fights, finishes off, goes well from below and above, does not stand out at anything and complies with everything. The man who a few days ago became the all-time top scorer for the ‘bleus’, beating a legend like Thierry Henry, put the rooster’s eleven in the semifinal of the World Cup in Qatar this Saturday with a magnificent header. Griezmann served a piece of candy from the left flank, with his left foot, and the 36-year-old attacker happily unwrapped it against Harry Maguire’s softness to rank France in the top four. The unexpected Morocco appears on the radar, a high-voltage duel, but Giroud works with sparks.
Never before had France beaten England in a World Cup. The last time they met was 40 years ago, in the World Cup in Spain, where the pros prevailed 1-3. In 1966, when the title went to the English, the boys from the three lions were also better in the group stage (2-0). After four decades of waiting, this time in the quarterfinals, Giroud has been in charge of giving the coup de grace to Gareth Southgate’s troops. He warned in the 11th minute with a header that Pickford caught. He was not seen much because the surveillance was good, like the ones mounted on Mbappé. The French ‘9’, located in the foreground after Benzema was lost due to injury, continued chipping away at the rival area, hoping to find a gold nugget that he would exchange for the semifinal. He did it in the final stretch of the game.
After Kane’s penalty equalizing Tchouaméni’s goal and several missed chances for England, Giroud found what he was looking for. In the 78th minute, a gift-wrapped cross from Griezmann fell into the small area. The French ‘9’ was where he had to be to take Maguire’s bag and beat Pickford. He celebrated with rage and released all the pressure he was carrying, a ton of responsibility that he handled with the precision of a Swiss watchmaker. If Lloris had supported his team with several merit saves, the Milan striker put it headfirst into the semifinals. He then gave her time to make a great drop shot (m.86) that Mbappé did not reach, who did not believe in the ability of his partner. Then Kane missed a maximum penalty in the 84th minute and further enhanced Giroud’s play.
53 goals and 14 assists
The ‘9’ from France has four goals in Qatar. He did two to Australia, one to Poland and one to England. The latter has been his 53rd blow in the 118 games with his national team shirt. He already takes two from Henry and 11 from Griezmann, who closes the historic podium with 42 hits. The Milan striker was World Champion in Russia, where he had an outstanding participation. At 36, the man from Chambéry has been distinguished as a Knight of the Legion of Honor and has spent more than 6,700 minutes with the French national team. The 53 goals converted are distributed among friendlies (28), qualifying matches for a World Cup (6) and Eurocups (6), World Cups (5), League of Nations (5) and Euros (3). To this account we must also add 14 assists.
Giroud has started four of France’s five matches in this World Cup. He only stayed on the bench against Tunisia as part of Deschamps’ massive rotations, which resulted in a loss. The only one the Gauls have in the desert tournament. They are already in the semifinals, where they will meet Morocco. The striker will go back down into the mine and try to find gold where the rest only see rock. He will do it in the shade, letting the spotlight shine on others. He is doing well with the overalls on.