Olivier Giroud will not have the opportunity to get closer to Thierry Henry’s goal record in the France team (51). The striker with 48 goals in 112 selections does not appear in the list given, Thursday, May 19, by Didier Deschamps for the four matches of the Blues as part of the qualifications for the League of Nations (from June 3 to 13).
In March, the AC Milan player took advantage of Karim Benzema’s injury to return to the group and score two goals against South Africa (5-0) and Côte d’Ivoire (2-0). As always in his career, Giroud had refused the obvious: namely that of his supposed downgrading at the end of Euro 2021 in favor of the Benzema-Mbappé duo.
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The Madrilenian then touched a calf, Didier Deschamps had however surprised, by recalling the 35-year-old striker. “I know very well what Olivier is capable of he said at the time. Score goals and occupy a register of his own in selection, that of the classic center-forward strong in the last meters and precious for his aerial game. “Olivier has a history in the France team, it’s not just anyone”, recalled his captain (and friend) Hugo Lloris.
His qualities, Olivier Giroud has not lost them in two months. How then to explain the decision of the coach? Asked about this at a press conference, the latter highlighted his desire “to offer the possibility to other offensive players to harden up and have more playing time”. Good news for Wissam Ben Yedder and Christopher Nkunku, in particular.
A matter of status?
But revived on the concomitance between the absence of Giroud and the return of Benzema, the boss of the Blues saw red: “You didn’t listen to me? I already explained myself at the last gathering. » At the time, he had offered a long digression by evoking the special status of Olivier Giroud. “It’s always the great difficulty to have a player who has a status, who has deserved it… If he doesn’t have that same status and he’s still there, it’s hard to live with. Not to say impossible. It’s human, conceded Didier Deschamps at the start of the spring rally. When you are used to having 100, if you have to be satisfied with 40…”
Translation: during the almost six years of Karim Benzema’s sidelining, Giroud was an indisputable starter, a part of the team and the locker room. It is therefore not easy to make him a natural (and docile?) replacement when Wissam Ben Yedder finds nothing to complain about his low playing time.
Before the Euro, Giroud had caused a mini-psychodrama after feeling poorly served during a preparation match against Bulgaria (3-0). Officially, the episode is forgotten by the coach and a Kylian Mbappé targeted by the media outlet. If Didier Deschamps leaves journalists “hasty interpretations”this absence suggests that Olivier Giroud will see Qatar and the World Cup (from November 21 to December 18), only in the event of a package from Benzema or Mbappé.
The answer may also be in the feet of the Milanese’s competitors. If Wissam Ben Yedder, Christopher Nkunku or why not Moussa Diaby score points with the coach in the four games against Austria, Denmark and Croatia (twice), Giroud probably has little chance of playing a third World Cup after those of 2014 and 2018. And Thierry Henry can rest easy – for a while longer – for his record.
A first for Boubacar Kamara
He is the new kid on this list. At 22, the defensive midfielder of Olympique de Marseille will discover the France team. The player benefits in particular from the absence of Paul Pogba, “still in the recovery phase”, after a calf injury, justifies Didier Deschamps. According to several media, Kamara was courted by Senegal (his father’s country) to join the Lions of Teranga and thus compete in the next World Cup. Asked about this, the coach said he did not try to get ahead of Senegal and ” to block “ Kamara. “I never prevent a binational player from making a choice [d’une autre sélection]. But when the player’s objective is clearly to be a French international, I encourage him.” said Didier Deschamps.