Wednesday, October 17, 2018
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Giroud – The Underrated French Warrior | FIFA World Cup3 min read

Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud failed to score a goal the 7 matches he played for France. You must have come across that information through Instagram or Twitter, and think this Giroud guy is a real failure right? Wrong. If you think that end product is all that matters, then you are truly mistaken.

Giroud did not score for France in any of their seven games, all of which he has featured in, that we know. Statistically, the only valuable contribution he made was an assist against Argentina, statistically. Since coming off the bench in their first game against Australia, he has started every game for France. Over that time span, he has had just one attempt on target. Just as Aime Jacquet largely stuck with Stephane Guivarc’h, France’s 1998 World Cup winning team’s striker, who also failed to score a goal in the competition. It should also be mentioned that Guivarc’h made hardly as much as an impact as Giroud did in 2018.

Take the fact that Didier Deschamps kept faith in Giroud and played him in every game in the World Cup, a record rivaled by only a few other French players. By that, we can understand that Giroud played a crucial role in Deschamps’ system. A system which won him the World Cup. Unless you believe that Deschamps is an idiot (which is he not), you could understand that he had his reasons for playing the 31-year-old striker in every game of the tournament. So, let us dumb it down for a few nincompoops who remain unaware of Giroud’s contribution to France’s World Cup-winning campaign.

Olivier Giroud is a target-man. According to Wikipedia: ‘The term “target man” is often used to describe a particular type of striker whose main role is to win high balls in the air and create chances for other members of the team (not necessarily scoring many goals themselves). These players are usually tall and physically strong, being adept at heading the ball.’ Remind you of someone in this World Cup? In order to judge the performance of a target man, we must use the parameters mentioned above. 

  • Win high balls in the air – Check 
  • Create Chances for other players – Check
  • Tall & Physically strong – Check
  • Adept at headers – Check

Hence, surprise surprise, Olivier Giroud is a good target man, bet you didn’t see that one coming. To delve deeper into this specific World cup campaign, Giroud did fail to pose as a major goal threat but his physical presence allowed Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann to flourish, the duo to cause havoc to defenders during the tournament.

But while Griezmann, MbappePogba, and Co stole the headlines as France went through the rounds, Giroud was always involved in one way or another. He won headers and controlled long balls, put pressure on the centre-backs and let the other attackers run freely. He held the ball and created space for other scorers – Mbappe and Griezmann as both of them ended the campaign with 4 goals each. Not undermining their individual abilities, both of them owe the majority of it to Giroud and his ability to attract attention from the defenders away from them and towards him.

The Chelsea striker truly made an invaluable contribution for France in the tournament and it was comforting to see that he knew it. Giroud addressed his difficulties, criticisms, and the support he receives from fans in an interview after the match.

He said: “All of my careers I have been, how can I say… I have been through certain difficulties and I have always tried to make it. It motivates me to get better and better and go through these difficulties and it is what happens in life when you are really motivated, determined, committed, it is never easy. Football is very hard and people see only the nice part of the job. But we work very hard for this achievement and I am very proud to say I am a World Cup champion.”

The Chelsea striker added:“No, no, no (I don’t feel more respected in France) because I have been criticised a little bit in France as well. For example, I didn’t score in the World Cup. I receive a lot of messages from people who know football well, lots of French supporters. They see the work I do for the team and a lot of people wanted me to score in the final. I said ‘yes I hope so but even if I don’t score and we are world champions it will be the best thing that has happened in my life’ so I don’t know if I have had a chance again. I tried to work for the team and I know what I can bring to the team. It’s the same for my team-mates. It is not one or two players or 11 players, it is 23 and that was the strength of the French team this year.”

The French striker won the World Cup and deserved it, as much as Mbappe, as much as Griezmann and as much as any other player in the French squad, goal or no goal.

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