Olivier Giroud has 90 minutes against Germany to prove that he is capable of playing at the highest level. The problem is he might not even start.
Friday afternoon could be one of the biggest moments in Olivier Giroud’s career. 90 minutes against Germany could be make or break for the Arsenal striker, and he might not even start the game.
The former Montpellier striker has featured in some part of all France’s four games so far in this World Cup. He was a substitute against Honduras, without actually doing anything of note.
Giroud then started against Switzerland, and he was superb. Scoring the opening goal, setting up Mathieu Valbuena for France’s third and overall being one of the best French players on the park.
Against Ecuador he started on the bench, with the group all but won, he came on in the second half, and probably should have scored.
Then in the round of 16 against Nigeria he played for 60 minutes, worked the African side hard, put in a tough shift of battling for every ball, without ever getting a chance to score.
Antoine Griezmann replaced him with 29 minutes to go, and France went on to score twice. Regardless of Giroud’s performance, rightly or wrongly it goes down as a negative because his replacement came on and had such a huge effect on the game.
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The Arsenal striker has played 160 minutes in this tournament, and for about 70 minutes of the tournament he has looked fantastic, it’s just the other 90 minutes that will have Arsenal fans worried.
Against Nigeria is showed that he can’t do it all by himself, with Karim Benzema looking in a grumpy mood, he was left to fight four defenders on his own, and he came up short.
In the Swiss game, with Benzema making runs off him, Valbuena playing the role of creator and the French midfield running past him, Giroud looked every part the superb centre-forward.
When you start Giroud on the bench, you are all but nullifying his threat. Not once for France, in any appearance has he made a telling contribution from the substitute’s bench.
Now, against the German defence, if he gets the nod from the start, he has to impress. Up against his Arsenal team-mate Per Mertesacker, a poor performance will undoubtedly lead to questions about his ability to be a star for Arsenal.
However, a superb energetic performance will go a long way to convincing fans worldwide, which with the right support, the handsome centre-forward, could just be the man Arsene Wenger needs to spearhead his attack.
This may be a crucial 90 minutes for France and Didier Deschamps, but there is so much riding on this match for Olivier Giroud. For the Arsenal striker, starting on the bench just isn’t an option.