A year earlier, in the heart of an autumn that was gradually erasing his tracks in the French team, no one would have imagined such a fate. 2021 should have been his swansong and, after all, Olivier Giroud’s career, crowned with a World Cup and an already impressive haul of goals, looked fantastic for a striker who was by no means destined for such honours.
2022, here he is, the second top scorer at the World Cup alongside Lionel Messi, having scored the most important goals of his international career in the last two weeks when we least expected it… and while Marcus Thuram had taken the training kit of to replace it.
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At 36, back from many places where he had been buried far too soon, he offered the French team a semi-final with a decisive header against the English. Accused of never scoring in the games that matter, he scored in just over ten days: a double for the Blues’ first opener, the first goal in the 8th and the semi-final qualifying goal. “You know my faith, I have always believed in it. It is God’s plan (Ed. note: God’s plan)”, he explained on Sunday evening at the microphone on TF1.
And there is indeed to believe in manifestations of some metaphysical forces to try to explain the inexplicable. And just note as the hero of the evening: “It is a beautiful fate.” It’s probably a little more than that. His 54th goal is arguably the most important of all. “My goal to overtake Titi (note: Henrik), it was already exceptional. Now this one, it might be even more beautiful. I have a great ball from Antoine (Editor’s note: Griezmann), and after that was an indescribable feeling“.
Olivier Giroud, goalscorer against England in the quarter-finals – 10/12/2022
Credit: Getty Images
Giroud – Griezmann, Griezmann – Giroud…
Griezmann – Giroud, Giroud – Griezmann: The 2016 link between two men who lost influence after Karim Benzema returned to the national team. Like the Milanese, the Madrilenian had also felt the controllers of the Blues slip through his fingers and watching this duo lead France’s team to the 7th semi-final in its history reminded us that we must never underestimate legends. “Someone wise told me : ‘we are all twenty years old and the rest is experience’. I play as a twenty-year-old kid with the mentality of a young kid who just arrived, who is always hungry. For a moment my body will say stop, but now it seems to be making money, so zero limit“, the center forward said last week.
Today, no one can ask him to stop. Especially not Didier Deschamps, who had the courage to put him on the sidelines for 7 months. “These smiles, this joy on their faces remind me of beautiful things,” concluded the former Gunner, referring to 2018. The Blues won a World Cup without a single performance from Olivier Giroud. How could this one, fueled by his insatiable appetite for goalscorers, decently escape them?
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