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 history with the Blues. In Marseille, the Savoyard signed his return with a 47and selection goal. Often announced on the decline or threatened by younger than him, the phoenix of Chambéry contributed to the victory of the French team against Côte d’Ivoire (2-1) in a friendly match, Friday, March 25.
Olivier Giroud never gives up and that is also what we recognize. Last summer, his Euro looked like a last lap between a falling out in preparation with Kylian Mbappé, the convincing return of Karim Benzema and a tournament crossed in the shoes of a downgraded and bitter substitute. “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’s what I had in the back of my mind.” he confided this week to The Team about his surprise reunion nine months later to replace a struggling Benzema with a calf.
“It’s not anyone”
Despite recent misunderstandings between the two men, Didier Deschamps still needs his Giroud, preferred to Wissam Ben Yedder at the forefront of the attack. The confidence of the coach has been rewarded. At the 22and minute, the Ivorians are no doubt still thinking of the splendid opener of a Nicolas Pépé bringing cold to the Hernandez brothers on their left side (0-1, 19and) that the AC Milan striker comes out of his box. On a cross from Théo Hernandez his club teammate, Giroud makes Giroud with an unstoppable header in the six meters (1-1).
At his age, the former Montpellier player knows that he will not win the aesthetic fight against those who consider his technique a bit coarse or always compare him with a Benzema, the thinnest of the number nines. “The French don’t like this style of player, the big guys”, summed up one day the former coach, Raymond Domenech.
Not false. But his style, Olivier Giroud does with it. After all, it allowed him to become the second goalscorer in the history of the Blues now four lengths from Thierry Henry and his 51 achievements. Associated with rookie Christopher Nkunku, he weighed on 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 decisive with us, even when he was in more difficulty at the club. » His friend, Hugo Lloris was the happiest of captains when commenting on his performance. “Olivier has a history in the France team, it’s not just anyone”, recalled the guard.
Tchouaméni also marks and impresses
To the point of reviving competition with a Benzema? We are not there yet. “If that’s the question, I’m not here to relaunch the debate, you do it very well in my place”, replied a caustic but not angry coach at a press conference. Didier Deschamps still displayed the smile of victory. Even in a match without stake, the coach is never very far from performing a roll and a somersault when his team snatches victory and shows character.
As against Belgium and Spain in October during the League of Nations, the Ivorians fired first. But as last fall, the Blues had the last word. The victory came from another strong but new head, that of Aurélien Tchouaméni. On a last corner, the Monegasque emerged to score his first goal for the selection in the 93and minutes (2-1). A boss-sized goal in the making for a player who never ceases to amaze with his calm and intelligence in midfield since his debut in August against Bosnia and 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 no other, calendar requires. Before flying to Qatar and the World Cup in November, the world champions still have time to prowl 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 back a cross or deflect a ball that trails. After all, he’s been doing it for eleven years already. From Tuesday against South Africa in Lille, he will still have the opportunity to get a little closer to Thierry Henry’s record.