Giroud to replace Karim Benzema


After teammate Karim Benzema was forced to withdrawal due to injury yesterday, Olivier Giroud will likely spearhead France’s attack at the World Cup in Qatar.

Giroud is likely to replace Benzema for the match against Australia

AC Milan forward Giroud and the Ballon D’or Winner Benzema at the national team trainings

Benzema entered the tournament as probably the world’s best complete forward, while Giroud was likely to be a substitute in France.

Real Madrid’s striker, Karim Benzema, won the Ballon d’Or last month. Then, in training on Saturday, he tore a thigh muscle, effectively ending his World Cup.

With Benzema sidelined, Giroud is likely to move from the bench to the starting lineup against Australia in Group D. Since he is just two goals behind of Thierry Henry’s France record of 51 goals, he has extra motivation to perform.

“For me, it’s a gift to play in this World Cup, I’m treating it like a young player appearing in his first World Cup. It would be a bonus to beat Titi’s (Henry’s) record,” Giroud said prior to Benzema’s injury. “I’m very happy to be part of this adventure. It’s a great source of pride.”

The 36-year-old striker has been impressive for AC Milan this season.

Another swing of fortunes between Giroud and Benzema, and the swing has gone in Giroud’s favor.

Benzema’s surprising return last year witnessed him take Giroud’s long-held starting spot at the European Championship, where Benzema led Les Bleus with four goals.

Giroud’s international career likely to get over. It was when he was once again ignored by coach Didier Deschamps for Nations League games in June. But the fact that he was playing well with AC Milan and helping them win the Serie A title.

Giroud used to have a good relationship with Deschamps. However, it got worse as Benzema’s partnership with Mbappe grew, with each scoring when France won the Nations League last year.

Having his back to the wall, Giroud did what he knows best: he proved his doubters wrong. He’d done it at Arsenal, when he helped the team win three FA Cups. Similarly in Chelsea, he led the league with nine goals when the Blues won the Europa League in 2019. It happened before playing a significant role in the club’s Champions League victory in 2021.

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