Petit: Giroud makes France a force to be reckoned with

The former Gooner his earned a starting spot over bigger names for France, and Manu says he'll be central to any success in Russia...


If I had to summarise the game against Peru, we have a clean sheet, we’ve qualified after two games for the next round, we played 45 minutes on a very good level. We are progressing in the right direction. It’s not the best we can do, but it’s good.

The first ten minutes was difficult for France, Peru put a lot of effort into the opening, but after that, France controlled the game. We’ve our destiny in our hands now.

PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 23: Paul Pogba of France reacts during the international friendly match between France and Colombia at Stade de France on March 23, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

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Many in France are talking about how Kante was magnificent versus Peru, and he was, but, in the first half especially, Pogba was superb too. Physically, mentally, how he used the ball, how he pressed, how he went forward, he was so good.

Against Australia, Pogba did not play very well even though he was involved in both goals. In the rest of the game he was not good at all.

The team and Pogba are improving.

You could see a difference in Mbappe too. He’s so fast, and he was always one-on-one on his flank, he created so many dangerous opportunities.

Giroud was back in the team, and his position makes the game plan clearer for all these other players. We saw a big improvement from the Australia game due to him.

Putting it simply, I don’t know if France will win the World Cup with Giroud, but I do know France cannot win the World Cup without him in the side.

Giroud has been criticised so much in the last six years for France, but he’s our main goalscorer, he broke Zidane’s national team goals record, and it is really clear what France are missing when he’s not on the pitch.

He’s not the best centre forward in the world, everyone knows that, but you know what his qualities are and what you’ll get from him. More importantly, his position on the pitch makes clear the role of everyone else. And once a player knows his role it’s better for the team.

The players against Australia didn’t have that clarity, and we saw how that worked. When Giroud was on it changed.

Giroud France Kit

French forward Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring during the International friendly football match Germany vs France in the northern German city of Bremen on February 29, 2012 in preperation for the UEFA Euro 2012. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

For the last few years Giroud hadn’t been a regular in the first team at Arsenal. You know, with Arsenal, and it’s the same for Chelsea, there’ll be a lot of competition to start up front, so he’s not moved down a level.

The fact is, for the national team, there is no better centre-forward. Deschamps has tried so many players up front. Some did well, some didn’t, but none of them were convincing.

With Giroud it’s completely different. You know exactly what to expect, he’s going to create four or five chances, he’s going to be sound defending set-pieces as well. You know that he’s going to press the opponents, you know exactly how you can use him.

That makes him hugely important for France in this tournament.

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