Giroud, a hundredth and a record

Wednesday 7 October 2020 - 23:00 - FFF
Olivier Giroud joie France Ukraine 7 octobre 2020 100e sélection

Olivier Giroud, who scored twice against Ukraine, became the second highest scorer in Les Bleus' history ahead of Michel Platini (42 goals). He is now chasing Thierry Henry's record (51), let us look at his goals, his striker profile, and his career path.

Deschamps: "He has maintained competitiveness throughout his career"

Against Ukraine, Olivier Giroud celebrated his 100th cap, becoming part of the very elite clan of eight French players who have been selected 100 times. The first cap was on November 11, 2011 against the United States (1-0). A rare feat at this level. "At 34, he has been with the French team for nine years, which is exceptional," says Guy Stéphan, Didier Deschamps' assistant, another centurion (103 caps). "It's a symbolic number," says the current coach and former captain of Les Bleus, who celebrated his 100th cap at the Euro 2000 semi-final against Portugal (2-1). We made sure it was not the last one, we still had a final to play! 100 caps, this longevity occurring at an elite level means that the player has maintained his level of competitiveness throughout his career".

Stéphan : "He is not a virtuoso but he is a winner"

"He is a real centre forward his strengths being his head play, back-to-back play, his athletic power in his resistance to shocks and talent that should not be forgotten," explains Guy Stéphan. You do not score [42] goals for the French team without being talented!". Olivier Giroud, the first to score under the blue jersey, has not forgotten: "It was my first cap, my third match with Les Bleus, and I scored, in Germany (2-1, on 29/02/2012), on a pass from my friend Debuch' (Mathieu Debuchy)." 41 other goals followed. And if he had less successful moments, the striker always overcame the difficulties to come back. The proof is that he has scored 10 goals in his last 14 matches in the blue jersey. "He's always been a bit criticised, probably because he doesn't have the style of a football-wielding virtuoso, but in a team, you need different player styles," says Guy Stéphan. He has a forward style and a great mental strength with a perpetual capacity to question himself. Above all, he is a winner, a winner."

On the surface, it can appear any time

His efficiency is evident during any point in the match, with a slight preference for the first period (62% of his goals): he starts strong (8 goals out of 42 scored in the first quarter of the game) and finishes even stronger before half-time (10 out of 42). How does he score? Almost all his goals, including 4 penalties, Olivier Giroud scored them from inside the opponent's area (41 out of 42). On Wednesday against Ukraine, he scored his first goal outside the surface with a magnificent curling shot from the left, which allowed him to tie with Michel Platini. Left-handed, he scored 67% of his goals with his strong foot: 28 out of 42 against 4 with his right foot. The striker also uses his height (1.92 m) and power to weigh down the opposing defence, either by scoring with his head (10 goals out of 42) or by putting away for his teammates.

Deschamps: "Platini, Henry and Giroud have one thing in common, their efficiency"

As he said before the match, he wanted to match Michel Platini "as soon as possible", seeing it as "a privilege to join this French football legend". It is a privilege to join this legend of French football. Olivier Giroud is now the second highest scorer in history, [9] units behind Thierry Henry's record of 51 goals. "Michel was creative, the number 10 by excellence, there are few players with that style today," said Guy Stéphan. Thierry Henry, it was explosiveness and skill. Olivier is the centre forward capable of fighting against an opposing defence and, with his feet, his head and his chest, of playing and scoring, but above all he is a player who has a sense of teamwork. He has always wanted to work with others, and he exerts a lot of energy. That doesn't prevent him from being the second-best goal scorer of all time on the French team today". "Platini, Henry, Giroud are totally different players with distinct skills, but they have one thing in common: their efficiency, their sense of finishing," emphasises Didier Deschamps. For Olivier, his goal record is not insignificant. It demonstrates everything that he has achieved. It is his merit but also the success of being a team player on the field".

Giroud : "I wouldn't have believed it"

After playing for the National (Istres) and Ligue 2 (Grenoble, Tours), Olivier Giroud discovered the elite at the age of 24 with Montpellier where he had an epic experience during his second season. French champions ahead of Paris SG the top scorer in Ligue 1, he then moved to England playing for Arsenal and then Chelsea. "Unlike a player who starts at a training centre and then his home club at the age of 17 or 18, Olivier has had an atypical career," Guy Stéphan acknowledges. In my opinion, he is even more deserving. It has certainly enabled him to build up the mental strength that characterises him". "If you had told me that I was going to become a centurion on the French team at the age of 34 when I played in Tours or Grenoble, I wouldn't have believed it," he confides. Football believed in me and I met the right coaches at the right time. I am an example for 17 or 18 year olds who don't go through a training centre and aspire to a career".


A centurion and captain against Ukraine (7-1), Olivier Giroud came back from a double-header that enabled him to overtake Michel Platini in the scoring charts for France (42 goals).
"I had immense pride; I was very moved, very honoured to wear the captain's armband. The coach gave me a nice gift. The evening went as I had dreamed. It started well, we were efficient, I had several opportunities. I was truly angry that I didn't put my head on Cama's goal' [Camavinga, 9th] but I took it well and the goalkeeper was on top of it. I remained concentrated, I tried my luck, and it went in. It was one of those situations where I rarely have the chance to be outside the box, I was happy to score like that. I am not the type to say that I'm going to outdo another football legend "Titi" [Thierry Henry]. I take it step by step, through the caps. Month after month. 10 goals in the last 14 caps, I'm optimistic that I will get close to him. We're talking about 9 more goals to score. When I scored, I felt a lot of pride, I thought of Michel Platini. It's the event that makes it even more beautiful. Because as you know, when I was a teenager, one of my favourite players was Andrei Chevtchenko. Everything was put together to make it a beautiful evening."