Back in Blue without Karim Benzema, after being snubbed in four of the last five rallies, Olivier Giroud seized the opportunity offered to him by Didier Deschamps this Thursday night against Austria (2-0): a goal, an assist and a role played to perfection up front. The World Cup is in two months, but is that enough to convince the coach?
By Jérémie Baron, at the Stade de France
Few things in Europe should be worth the San Siro love, really. But Olivier Giroud had to be away, for a year and three months, to feel this boiling Stade de France, chanting his surname in unison. The last time was in June 2021, when the big stick from Chambéry scored a double against Bulgaria, a few days before a Euro where he would only scratch 40 minutes of play in four games . Since then, the French discovered Serie A, destroyed there from the top of its 35 banks, and raised the scudetto. In the French team, however, his situation continues to slide towards the box of those who Didier Deschamps does not know what to do.
Two goals from Thierry Henry
Because between June 2021 and this summer, the Rossonero has almost disappeared from international circulation, having set foot in Clairefontaine just once in the Blues’ five gatherings. His only window of opportunity? Two friendlies against Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa, where he entertained the public at the Vélodrome and Pierre-Mauroy, with a pawn each time. However, La Déche still chose Wissam Ben Yedder over him, three months later, and left him to ponder in Lombardy. On Thursday, the coach confirmed that he only called the Milan control tower when a Karim Benzema – whose partnership seemed complicated – was helpless, but it didn’t matter: as usual, the forward-center took in his opportunity full of teeth, with what he knows how to do.
For seventy-eight minutes, the 2012 French champion remembered what made him strong under the national tunic, facing David Alaba’s teammates: this important role with his back to the goal no one else seems to be able to take between the French pool, his discount oil the game, his activity in the air and his presence on the surface, the fear he inspires in the eyes of his bodyguards, his complementarity of Antoine Griezmann (another angry Blue, who has already served the last goal of G with the Habs and also came out at the same time as him) or his omnipresence in the passing circuits once we start looking for him. And that lost itself: to recover an Austrian gift before the mark of time, he was able to launch Kylian Mbappé, allowing the Bondynois to go and alone with his goal; ten minutes later, he felt Grizou’s cake approaching and defiled Philipp Lienhart’s 89 meters to put a beautiful helmet shot on the strings by Patrick Pentz: 2-0, signed by Giroud.
35a & 357j – Thanks to his goal against Austria, Olivier Giroud became this Thursday night, at 35 years and 357 days, the oldest scorer in the history of the French team, overtaking Roger Marche (35 years old) and 287 days in December 1959 against Spain). Briscard. #CLEANING pic.twitter.com/0u5ORYB3I8
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) September 22, 2022
“He did everything to make sure he goes to the World Cup” Didier Deschamps
“I always consider that a player with a situation should stay in the same situation in the French team.coolly explained DD about the former Tourangeau, Sunday on Téléfoot. Humanly, it’s very difficult if you don’t save it. » A way of not giving too much false hope to his striker, who even by piling on the caramels at every EDF appearance, has a good chance of not seeing Qatar. In the meantime, the man concerned continues his work: the oldest smuggler but above all the oldest scorer in the history of this selection (at 35 years and 357 days), he is now focusing on two achievements (49 out of 113 caps since 2011) from His Majesty Thierry Henry. After his player’s recital, Deschamps appeared “Happy for Olivier, he deserves it. He has more complicated times, at the club, where he has little or nothing. If I call him and put him on, for him to be good and score goals. He participates in many offensive actions, many combinations. […] Hope he continues well. Don’t translate. Did I tell you it wasn’t there or it was going to happen (in the World) ? Not at all, but he did everything to make sure he went. There is lots and lots of competition at all positions. I have a small margin but it’s not to bring 26 to bring 26. Good for what he did. » The only Qatar boycott allowed by French football is probably that of Olivier Giroud.
By Jérémie Baron, at the Stade de France
Comments collected by MB, at Stade de France