From Raymond Kopa to Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane to Thierry Henry, France has produced some of football’s all-time greats, but Olivier Giroud needs just one more goal for Les Bleus to tower over all of his compatriots.
The giant 1.93m tall centre-forward and 2018 World Cup winner equalled Henry’s record mark of 51 goals for the French national team by scoring twice in his country’s 4-1 win over Australia on Tuesday.
He had already long since left behind the likes of Platini, David Trezeguet, Jean-Pierre Papin and Just Fontaine, the striker who famously scored 13 times in one World Cup in 1958.
France’s oldest international goalscorer at the ripe old age of 36, Giroud has reached his tally in 115 appearances for his country, eight fewer than the number of caps obtained by Henry between 1997 and 2010.
“It is a source of pride, an honour,” Giroud said after his brace against Australia which saw him draw level with Henry as France began their defence of the World Cup.
“It makes you think about all the hard work I have put in to get here but also the superb teams I have played in.” Exciting feature: Check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ find “Recommended for you” block and enjoy! Now ready to go beyond Henry’s mark, he added: “Watch out ‘Titi’, I’m coming.”
Giroud’s performance against Australia has raised hopes that France can cope just fine in this World Cup without Karim Benzema, the Ballon d’Or winner who pulled out injured on the eve of the tournament. After all they did just fine without Benzema four years ago in Russia, even if Giroud failed to score a single goal during the World Cup in Russia.
But there is a growing feeling that Didier Deschamps’ side might even be better off this time despite all the injuries in their squad, given the fruitful relationship that Giroud has developed of late with Kylian Mbappe.