By Isaac Akugizibwe,
Olivier Giroud is now France’s record goal scorer with 53 goals one behind legendary striker Thierry Henry. The AC Milan forward scored the goal that eventually helped France beat their noisy compatriots England 2-1 in a pulsating quarterfinal encounter on Saturday.
The first goal for France came from Tchouameni’s beautiful 25-yard shot. He shot it out of a standing position.England equalised through their first penalty, before another moment of brilliance. A well hit cross by Griezmann found Giroud’s head for France’s second, it eliminated two very strong centre-backs in the air, Stones and Maguire, and with such a pace behind the ball Giroud knew exactly where to run.
The France number nine surpassed Thierry Henry on the all time lead goal Scorer for Les Blues with 44th minute strike against Poland in the last 16 a week ago before sending the English home abit early.
Giroud first played for France in 2011 at the age of 25 and given his age and style of play , very few people saw him on the same page and path as did Henry but by his 117th game for France, the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker tops France’s scoring charts and could raise the bar higher with a goal or more in the quarterfinals and beyond.
The AC Milan forward is widely criticised for not doing enough with the ball apart from finishing it which is also higly questioned. His inability to bury most of the chances he gets at times. The 35 year old has survived with that critism all his career and has never appeared to be affected.
His ability to standout when he is least expected has been key to his impressive career that has seen him leave a mark wherever he’s been.While at Arsenal, Giroud helped Arsenic Wenger’s team to win two FA cups besides scoring some incredible and sometimes match winning goals that will forever stick in the memories of Arsenal fans.
Though under appreciated, Giroud left his mark at Chelsea as well. He helped the blues to win the Europa league in 2020 and was part of the champions league winning squad under Thomas Tuchel in 2021.
At Ac Milan,the French Titan scored 14 goals in his first season helping the Rozanerri to win the Serie A title after 12 years ending an imperious Juventus dominance as well as outcompeting redemptive city rivals, inter Milan.
When he moved to Italy,many premier league fans including some pundits thought it was all over for Giroud but his achievement at Ac Milan so far indicate that the 36 year old could be at his all time best peak of form.
For France, it is coach Didier Deschamps to thank. He seems to see what the rest of the World can not see in Olivier Giroud.He has called him ever since he took over as France manager despite his unconvincing numbers at times. Apart from the 2018 World cup where Giroud did not score through out,he is yet to disappoint. He survives with the credit of helping create spaces that helped teammates to execute in Russia as well as standing in for aerial duels.
He has defied the odds every time he’s called up for France and his ability to use the rare chances at National duty are surely beginning to pay off. Who knew that a striker who last crossed a fifteen league goal mark a decade ago would surpass one of the English premier league’s once perennial 20 goal mark strikers?
It is self belief, doing his thing his way and utilising unlikely chances that Olivier Giroud is now a record goal scorer of two time World Champions. He is not even half of Henry’s talent and skill but he is above those with atleast three quarters.
He looks at what he can do and does it sometimes with some incredible style not what people want him to do. His strength is finishing preferably with the head and tapping in with his left foot while in the 18 yard box not shooting and taking off defenders.
He was clear to Arsenal fans who wanted him to play or do things like Robin Van Persie whom he replaced after signing from Montpelier. He said he was a very different person and would do things differently from the Dutchman who had crossed to Manchester United.
France have now progressed to the semifinals and are seen as strong favourites to defend the World Cup and if they do, it will mark more honours for the underated Olivier Giroud who has four goals to his name in Qatar.Follow Us