Giroud’s mission to supply France
Can France win the World Cup with a centre-forward who fails to score a goal? Olivier Giroud has yet to get off the mark in 412 minutes of football spread across five appearances at these finals but his name will be among the first on the France teamsheet for Tuesday’s semi-final against Belgium and neither player nor manager is losing any sleep about his drought continuing. [Image: vikings_219.jpg]While Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann enjoy the limelight Giroud is quietly going about his business, out of the race for the Golden Boot but well in the running for a World Cup winner’s medal. Left out of the starting XI for the opening game, Giroud has selflessly played the role of target man since, giving Mbappé and Griezmann the freedom to flourish. [Image: knights_989.jpg]“When you are a striker like Ray Lewis Authentic Jersey me, you always play for the teammates,” Giroud said. “Obviously I prefer to have chances and score but, if I can make space for the others, I always try to choose the best option for the team. That’s the main thing. When France were world champions in 1998 I think [Christophe] Dugarry scored one goal and [Stéphane] Guivarc’h Matt Breida Authentic Jersey not at all. If we are world champions without me scoring, I don’t mind. It means, if I’m on the pitch, the boss thinks I can help the team. I’ve got my part to play.” Giroud is spot on with those 1998 statistics and, what is more, there are other cases in recent times when World Cup winners have not been blessed with a prolific No 9. Miroslav Klose scored twice in five appearances for Germany Shayne Gostisbehere Authentic Jersey in 2014 and Luca Toni finished with the same tally for Italy in 2010, despite playing in every match. Didier Deschamps sees other qualities in Giroud beyond goals, which is why he turned to the Chelsea striker after France’s unconvincing 2-1 win over Australia, when a three-pronged attack featuring Mbappé, Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé never clicked. The balance feels so much better with Giroud as the focal point. Strong with his back to goal, the 31-year-old liberates others with his presence as much his touches. “It’s true he hasn’t scored yet; I repeat, yet,” Deschamps said. “But he’s important in our team and for our style of play. In the [Argentina] match he made an assist for Mbappé and we need this sort of supporting play. He’s always had an important role for us. If he could have scored, it would have been good, because a striker always likes to score. But Olivier Giroud is always extremely generous and he doesn’t complain when it comes to Juan Samuel Authentic Jersey working hard. “He might not have the flamboyant style of other players but the team needs him in each and every match. Even if he doesn’t score, he’s useful in attack but also because of his game in the air, and in defence [on set pieces]. He does many things for the game to be balanced. It’s the players around him that benefit from his presence because he attracts a lot of attention from defenders.” Giroud’s scoring record for France is impressive, though. With 31 goals from 79 internationals is joint fourth on France’s all-time list, level with Zinedine Zidane and behind only Thierry Henry, who scored three times during that 1998 triumph, Michel Platini and David Trezeguet – not bad company to keep. Deschamps has always liked Giroud and it is easy to see why the France coach is happy with the way the team are set up now. Griezmann can drift in from the left, while Mbappé’s searing pace provides a dangerous outlet on the right. “I think it’s very interesting when [Mbappé] starts from far [back],” Giroud said. “Right side he can use his best qualities, his skills, and obviously with this speed he’s very valuable for us. So we’ve got different qualities up front, and a good understanding, very complementary.”

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