- Olivier Giroud has become the eighth man to reach 100 France caps
- He captained them to a 7-1 victory over Ukraine
- Giroud celebrated by going second on their list of all-time leading marksmen
The unlikely star has hit the hundred – and outranked one of the game’s all-time greatest performers in the process. Olivier Giroud, who failed to win a youth cap for France at any level and who didn’t make it to Ligue 1 until he was in his mid-20s, became the eighth man to reach the senior Bleus’ century club.
The Chelsea striker, who turned 34 last month, marked the occasion by captaining his country and scoring twice in a 7-1 victory over Ukraine as France warmed up for a UEFA Nations League showdown with Portugal, to whom they lost in the UEFA EURO 2016 final, in style. The brace catapulted Giroud above Michel Platini and into second place on his country’s list of all-time leading marksmen, nine behind Thierry Henry.
France's all-time leading scorers
Giroud's first 40 goals for Les Bleus were all scored inside the box. He ended the sequence in his milestone match on Wednesday with a sumptuous strike into the top corner from distance.
Giroud, then 25, made his France debut as a substitute in a 1-0 win over USA in 2011. “This is a childhood dream come true,” he said. “I still can’t believe it. It’s immensely pleasing and huge privilege to play for my country.”
On his first FIFA World Cup™ start, against Switzerland at Brazil 2014, Giroud flung back his neck and somehow generated immense power to head home a Mathieu Valbuena corner and break the deadlock. It was France’s 100th goal in the competition, and they went on to win 5-2.
Giroud scored the first goal of UEFA EURO 2016 with a trademark header against Romania. The then-Arsenal player netted twice in the quarter-finals against Iceland. Giroud finished with a runners-up medal and as the joint-second-top scorer behind compatriot, Antoine Griezmann.
No player had scored a hat-trick for France since David Trezeguet in 2000 until Giroud, in a 5-0 victory over Paraguay in 2017, produced a fine volley, diving header and left-foot finish.
He may not have got on the score-sheet, but Giroud’s physical presence and hold-up play enabled Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann to excel as France won Russia 2018. “He was fundamental,” said coach Didier Deschamps. “The players getting the headlines will be the first to tell you how important he was.”