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What makes Olivier Giroud so successful for France?

What makes Olivier Giroud so difficult to contain? One of his former rivals in the Premier League explains.

Former Ireland defender Damien Delaney joined The Football Show to discuss Olivier Giroud.

France's top goalscorer of all time. It's not Thierry Henry anymore. It's not Karim Benzema. Instead, it's Olivier Giroud.

A journeyman striker who has been an everpresent for France because of Benzema's enforced absence, Giroud is reaching the peak of his career at this World Cup. Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe provide the flair, Antoine Griezmann provides the creative spark. And Giroud is just there to tap every goal in.

While it sounds like a simple job, there's a great art to being a consistent international striker.

Damien Delaney played against Giroud on many occasions during his time playing in the Premier League. Giroud was younger then, but he plays a style of game that ages well. A style of game that is incredibly difficult for defenders to stop.

"I used to always say that he was one of the toughest ones to play against," Delaney said.

"And he was. He was so strong, physically imposing. A traditional number nine and he wasn't afraid to put himself about. But he always seemed to just stand in between the two centre backs...he just picked up nice positions and he was a good focal point for Arsenal [back then].

"He wasn't slow. Obviously he wasn't quick...but crosses are where you'd be terrified of him."

Virgil Van Dijk named Giroud as his toughest opponent during an interview prior to this World Cup. It was a surprise considering Giroud's standing in the game relative to other players. But Giroud is also somewhat of a dying breed as there are very few true, out-and-out number nines playing today.

Delaney explains what it is that makes Giroud so effective.

"He's big. And if the cross is coming in, he can get across the line and once he gets there you can't get around him without fouling him. He's very, very good at picking up the flight of the ball. So he'll make his move and as a defender you kind of have to pause a little bit for the cross.

"You have to wait and then as soon as the cross is on the way you can adjust. He can gamble. He can go early...and once he gets there, you can't move him."

Phil Foden is actually a central midfielder.


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