World Cup 2022 : In Qatar, Olivier Giroud may have been an understudy to an A-lister, but he easily stepped into the lead role as France swept Australia away to lay an ominous message to their opponents and secure their spot as World Cup holders.
After Ballon d’Or winner and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to a thigh injury, Olivier Giroud was promoted to the starting lineup by France coach Didier Deschamps.
After winning a World Cup champion gold with France in 2014 in Moscow when they defeated Croatia 4-2, it propelled Giroud to the forefront of the spotlight.
And the 36-year-old made the most of the opportunity, scoring twice to further establish himself as one of the most underappreciated strikers of his age.
Giroud did it all with Kylian Mbappe, who was excellent as usual, scoring one goal and assisting on two more while playing with the type of grin on his face that will send chills down France’s future opponents’ spines.
Mbappe’s impressive World Cup debut stands in stark contrast to that of another worldwide superstar in the sport, Lionel Messi, whose Argentina team was humiliated by Saudi Arabia in a surprise loss.
With Mbappe a tormentor from the first whistle and Giroud slotting into his position to perfection, Australia threatened another surprise but ultimately lost 4-1.
Mbappe assisted on both of Olivier Giroud’s goals, tying Giroud with Thierry Henry for the most goals ever scored for France (51). He then executed a daring backheel to set up Adrien Rabiot, who in turn created an easy goal for Olivier Giroud to make it 2-1.
A nice header for France’s third goal put him on the scoresheet at this World Cup, and his pinpoint cross found Giroud to round off a dominant start for the defending champions.
The 23-year-old Mbappe will get all the attention, and rightfully so after this scorching performance, but Giroud has always been content to lurk in the shadows and threaten.
Despite having to work hard for recognition, Giroud has built a career that attests to his brilliance. It took until late in his career for his intelligence as a striker to be appreciated for what he really is.
He won three FA Cups with Arsenal, one with Chelsea in 2018, one with the Blues when they defeated Arsenal in the 2019 Europa League Final, and one with Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea in 2021.
Giroud took his penchant for trophies with him to AC Milan, and the club ultimately won the Serie A championship thanks to his efforts. His medals speak for themselves, and he has his eyes set on winning another one in Qatar.
France will be missing a number of crucial players at this tournament, but with replacements boasting Giroud’s expertise and history of success, Deschamps has every reason to be optimistic.
READ MORE : It’s France, with a score of 4-1. Group D winners France recover from an early scare thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe against Australia
He is without Benzema, Presnel Kimpembe on defense, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante in the middle, and Christopher Nkunku, a striker for RB Leipzig who is valued at £70 million.
And despite the absences, this was a bold declaration that France has no intention of relinquishing their title of world champions cheaply.
It did not matter in this case as Mbappe got into his rhythm straight immediately and the masterclass in attack led by Giroud more than made up for the occasional uncomfortable moment at the back.
France lost in the quarterfinals of Euro 2020 against Switzerland on penalties, which was a blow to both their performance and their dignity. They want to make up for it in Qatar.
Mbappe has pushed aside the turmoil and rumors surrounding his future at PSG to be the headliner.
As the clock in Qatar wound down to midnight, he took a bow with the rest of the French squad, clearly pleased with his efforts.
Supporters who made the long trip to Qatar in the hopes of seeing Giroud live up to the hype cheered his name loudly when he tied the record.
Holders, have a nice evening. If Giroud and Mbappe are any indication of the future, it won’t be a good one for those who want to replace them as world champions.