“That’s the story of Olivier Giroud, who just keeps going, and keeps scoring. The 36-year-old finally got the goal he didn’t in 2018 to claim his first in the World Cup in eight years before quickly following it with another. That made it 4-1 to France against Australia and was also the 51st goal of his international career, to match Thierry Henry’s record. “Giroud may well surpass that in this tournament, a World Cup he wasn’t even expected to start in. This was precisely why Karim Benzema’s injury wasn’t seen as anything close to a disaster by the French, despite his immense quality.
“They’d already won a World Cup with Giroud and, far from the Real Madrid player taking them to another level, the belief is that the team just works better with the Milan striker. He links it all together. Kylian Mbappe certainly enjoys playing with him. “As regards levels, the reality of this game was that a plucky but hugely limited Australia just couldn’t get close to France. ”Match report by Miguel Delaney in Qatar:Alex Pattle22 November 2022 21:141669151153France 4-1 AustraliaFrance with one of the finest performances of the group stage so far.
It was a moment of French footballing history and, as player and manager, Deschamps has witnessed and created more than most. “He was a teammate of Thierry Henry when he debuted, serving as his captain in the 1998 World Cup- and Euro 2000-winning sides. By the time he retired, Henry was establishing himself as one of the great forwards of his generation. Olivier Giroud does not have the same status but a man who has followed Henry into the Arsenal and France forward lines has equalled him in another respect. “When Kylian Mbappe, who bears more similarities as a player with Henry, crossed and Giroud supplied the target man’s trademark header, it took him to 51 goals for France.