French men’s national team forward Olivier Giroud was not supposed to see the field very much at this World Cup. The striker position was going to be Real Madrid star and 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema’s — until he picked up an injury right before the tournament started.
With Benzema unavailable, Giroud slotted right back into the role he played during the team’s World Cup triumph in 2018. He didn’t score a goal in that tournament but started every game in the knockout stage, and received plenty of praise for his selfless contributions that helped his teammates shine.
This time, the 36-year-old is contributing in more traditional ways too. He found the back of the net twice in France’s 4-1 win over Australia, netted the opener in the round of 16 against Poland, and scored the winner against England in the quarterfinals. Teammate Kylian Mbappé is the only player with more goals in the tournament than Giroud.
GIROUD PUTS FRANCE BACK ON TOP 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/KRBFrFkgPS
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 10, 2022
His goal against Poland was the 52nd of his international career, breaking a tie with Thierry Henry for the most in French men’s national team history.
🎁 A little 𝐓𝐎𝐏 𝐆𝐎𝐀𝐋𝐒 collection from @_OlivierGiroud_ to celebrate his goal record in Blue 🔥
What's your favourite? 🤩
— French Team ⭐⭐ (@FrenchTeam) December 8, 2022
Giroud began his career in the lower levels of France’s professional soccer system before winning a league title with Montpellier in the top division, and then moving to English Premier League power Arsenal in the summer of 2012. He scored double-digit goals in five consecutive seasons for Arsenal and joined Chelsea midway through the 2017-18 season.
Italian club AC Milan bought Giroud at the beginning of last season, and he tied for the team lead with 11 goals as Milan won the Serie A title for the first time since 2010-11.
Throughout his career, Giroud has publicly expressed his faith in Christ. In 2019, he served as a guest editor of a French Christian magazine called “Jesus” and talked about his desire to share his faith.
“I try to speak about my faith whenever I can,” he said. “I feel I have to use my media profile to talk about my commitment to Jesus Christ, and the matters that concern me.”
Giroud told the Daily Mail in 2019 he grew up going to church with his mother.
“I just carried on and now I’m seeing a Christian priest studying the Bible together and I feel like I want to know more about Jesus Christ’s life,” he said. “And every time I read the word of the Holy Bible it makes me feel grateful about everything that has happened to me.”
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While reflecting on winning the World Cup in 2018, Giroud said he was intentional about making sure he gave glory to God while celebrating.
“I’m very religious so, at that moment, I just thanked God,” he told the Daily Mail. “I was very grateful to have the opportunity to live my dream. To live every single day for me is a day blessed.”
He is just two wins away from being able to celebrate a second World Cup title. The winner of France’s semifinal clash with Morocco at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday will face either Croatia or Argentina in the final, which takes place at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday.
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