Olivier Giroud

Coauthored by Jeremy Roth and David Talpalar

i-1(Courtesy of ESPN)

Giroud, the often maligned central striker, seems likely to start vs. Romania given the international suspension of Karim Benzema. Giroud, 29, has been capped 46 times by the French and hopes to hit the half century mark this summer. In his 46 international appearances he has contributed 14 goals (ESPN).

Giroud, one of the few white players expected to start this summer, grew up in France and played all of his youth and professional career in France until he made a big money move from Montpellier to Arsenal in 2012, having just played a critical role in helping Montpellier reach the Champions League the year before he left. Since his move to Arsenal, Giroud has often come under significant criticism for his contributions to both club and country. However, his return of 53 goals in 118 games (ESPN) is actually quite impressive, and the big Frenchman seems unphased by the constant cry from fans for him to be replaced.

Although his international goal haul is less impressive than his club statistics, Giroud brings a lot to the table.  Standing at a towering 6 feet 4 inches, Giroud is a massive threat in the air, which makes him a major asset on both offensive and defensive set pieces. However, as is shown below, Giroud has remarkably good feet for a player of his size, which can be seen particularly when he plays for Arsenal, a team much more known for playing possession as opposed to crossing it into the box often. While Andre-Pierre Gignac figures to be breathing down his neck leading up to (and during) the tournament, Giroud seems the favorite to start vs. Romania, although he will need to impress manager Didier Deschamps if he is to keep his place in the team moving forward.

Giroud shows sublime footwork as he assists Arsenal’s goal of the year (YouTube)

How to cite this article: “Projected France Starting XI at Euro 2016” Written by Jeremy Roth and David Talpalar (2016), European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/tournament-guides/european-cup-2016-guide/identity-and-the-french-national-team/notable-players-in-the-projected-french-squad-with-african-heritage/Olivier-Giroud/ (accessed on (date)).