International retirement, Olivier Giroud does not think about it while shaving, walking his dog or after reading the Gospels. As a good believer, the 35-year-old striker has always had faith in his story with the Blues. In Marseille, Savoyard wrote his return with a 47and selection objectives. Often announced on the decline or threatened by younger than him, the Phoenix Chambéry contributed to the French team’s victory against Côte d’Ivoire (2-1) in a friendly match on Friday 25 March.
Olivier Giroud never gives up, and that is also what we recognize. Last summer, his Euro looked like a final round between an outcome in preparation with Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema’s convincing return and a tournament crossed in the shoes of a down-prioritized and bitter replacement.
“I take this return as a gift, a bonus in my career, I knew that if I performed well with Milan, I could keep the door open. That was what I had in the back of my mind.” he confided this week to The team about his surprising reunion nine months later to replace a Karim Benzema in delicacy with a calf.
“It’s not just anyone”
Despite recent misunderstandings between the two men, Didier Deschamps still needs his Giroud, preferred over Wissam Ben Yedder at the helm of the attack. The coach’s confidence has been rewarded. By the 22ndand minute, the Ivorians are no doubt still thinking of the stunning opening of a Nicolas Pépé bringing cold to the Hernandez brothers on their left (0-1, 19)and) that the AC Milan striker is coming out of his box. On a post from Théo Hernandez, his club mate, Giroud made Giroud with an unstoppable header on the six meters (1-1).
At his age, the former Montpellier player knows he will not win the aesthetic battle against those who consider his technique a bit rough or always compare him to Karim Benzema, the thinnest of number nine. “The French do not like this style of play, the big guys”, summed up one day the former coach, Raymond Domenech.
Not fake. But his style makes Olivier Giroud with it. It allowed him, after all, to become the second goal scorer in Blues’ history, now four lengths from Thierry Henry and his 51 performances. Associated with rookie Christopher Nkunku, he weighed down the Ivorian defense and sought to combine with Antoine Griezmann. Despite a few hiccups, Didier Deschamps enjoyed his performance: “Olivier has always had this ability to be good and determined with us, even when he was in more difficulty at the club. »
His friend Hugo Lloris was the happiest of captains when he commented on his performance. “Olivier has a history in the French team, it’s not just anyone”, recalled the guard.
Tchouaméni also marks and impresses
To the point of reviving competition with Karim Benzema? We are not there yet. “If that’s the question, I’m not here to restart the debate, you’re doing very well in my place.”, replied a corrosive but not angry coach at a press conference. Didier Deschamps still showed the smile of victory. Even in a match without effort, the coach is never far from performing a throw and a somersault when his team snatches the victory and shows character.
Compared to Belgium and Spain in October 2021 under the League of Nations, the Ivorians shot first. But like last fall, the blues had the last word. The victory came from another strong but new head, Aurélien Tchouaménis. On one last corner, the monegasque appeared to score his first goal for the selection in the 93rdand minutes (2-1). A boss-sized goal in the mold for a player who never ceases to amaze with his calm and intelligence in midfield since his debut in August 2021 against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Without a Kylian Mbappé who remained on the bench due to an ENT problem, the French team has perfectly launched a year 2022 like nothing else the calendar requires. Before flying to Qatar and the World Cup in November, the world champions still have time to sneak this not-yet-perfect but attractive 3-4-3 with Théo Hernandez and Kingsley Coman as facilitators on the sides.
Olivier Giroud, he intends to always be there to take a cross back or reject a ball that follows. After all, he’s been doing it for eleven years already. From Tuesday against South Africa in Lille, he still has the opportunity to get a little closer to Thierry Henry’s record.