Olivier Giroud is already a legend in France. Kylian Mbappé, too. The 36-year-old veteran Milan striker is participating in his third World Cup and will play the quarterfinals for the third time, having become the team’s all-time top scorer since Sunday thanks to the target with which he opened the victory over Poland and that catapulted him to 52 goals, already surpassing the 51 that kept him equal with Thierry Henry.
The young star of PSG has already scored nine goals in two tournaments and, ruling the classification of the blues, he is on his way to being the top scorer in Qatar.
It was Giroud who righted the wrong of an uncomfortable game a few minutes after (approaching half-time) Lloris first and then Varane prevented the Poles from advancing on the scoreboard. And it was, already in the second half, Mbappé who showed off his differential crack status to sentence the pass with two great goals, for the moment becoming the top scorer in the World Cup (5 goals) and already adding nine in two appearances.
The blues, with solvency, dodged the jinx that they themselves inaugurated in 2002, and from which only Brazil was saved in 2006, overcoming a first phase in which the champion had crashed, like them, in 2010, 2014 and 2018 and found in an unusual couple the key to explain their third consecutive classification for the quarterfinals of the World Cup.
Giroud, 117 caps for the national team since his debut in 2011 under the command of Laurent Blanc, has never been an undisputed star but, at the same time, he has always been a necessary footballer. That he has left his mark wherever he went and that he has remained a regular in the national team’s plans, first with Blanc and then, for ten years, with Didier Deschamps.
He may not have the pedigree of Henry, the lucky star of Griezmann, let alone the quality of Benzema or, of course, Platini, but he has scored more goals than any of them in the French national team shirt, while accumulating 260 in 643 games divided between Grenoble, with which he made his debut in 2006, Istres, Tours, Montpellier, Arsenal, Chelsea and Milan.
Giroud, an old-fashioned striker, never an indisputable star but always necessary, disputes, it is understood, his last World Cup sharing a dressing room for the second time in the tournament with the most brilliant star of the blues, a beast called Mbappé and who appears ready to break all records. He already has nine goals in eleven World Cup games and nothing seems far out of reach for him in an already monumental career at 23 years old.
It is not unreasonable, on the contrary, it is considered logical, to think that Mbappé will sooner rather than later become the national team’s all-time top scorer and will leave his teammate behind. He has made 63 appearances for France and with his double against Poland he has already scored 33 goals.
His speed, his ability to define, his speed in making decisions, his indisputable quality… Nothing is difficult for the PSG footballer who has already scored as many goals in World Cups as Leo Messi, with only two appearances and who He is called, in direct competition with the absent ErlingHaaland, to succeed the Argentine star as the new king of world football.
Ahead now is Mbappé, along with Giroud, the quarterfinals and, who knows, the semifinal and final as a monumental challenge to make La Bleu the first team to win the World Cup in two consecutive tournaments since Brazil did it in the 1958 and 1962 editions.