Striker Olivier Giroud believes French footballers deserve to be at their best at the World Cup in Qatar, just as they did in Russia four years ago. According to him, the current squad has the same mentality and dedication as the 2018 team.
The winner helped Les Bleus beat England 2-1 in Saturday’s quarter-final and move closer to becoming the first team in 60 years to defend the trophy, the last time Brazil did so. The reigning world champions took the lead from 17 minutes on after Aurélien Tchouameni’s goal, nine minutes after the break Kane equalized from the penalty spot. Thanks to the 53rd goal, he equaled England national team top scorer, Wayne Rooney. However, in the 78th minute, Olivier Giroud, the best French shooter in history, also scored his 53rd goal for the national team.
“It was amazing. We did a great job defensively. This win reminds me a bit of the one against Belgium in the 2018 semifinal. Grizi (Griezmann) made a great save for me,” the media quotes Giroud.
“It was a big game, we know England’s potential. I’m very proud of this team. It reminds me of 2018 with the mentality and dedication. This team deserves to go even further.” said the 36-year-old AC Milan player.
He praised the mood in the team. “We were singing and dancing in the cabin. The head of French football, Noël Le Graët, and (former internationals) Lilian Thuram and Claude Makélélé came. It’s nice to see that kind of atmosphere in the dressing room,” said the former Montpellier, Arsenal or Chelsea striker.
Although he did not score a goal as a regular member of the starting line-up at the last World Cup, in Qatar he finished second among goalscorers with four goals, along with Argentina’s Lionel Messi. He is one goal behind team-mate Kylian Mbappé.
In Wednesday’s semifinals, France will challenge the tournament’s biggest surprise, Morocco, who became the first African team in history to reach the last four. The group was dominated by Croatia, Belgium and Canada, ahead of the silver and bronze medalists. Spain beat Spain on penalties in the last 16 and Portugal 1-0 in the quarter-finals.
“Not many people expected Morocco in the semi-finals. But they deserve to be there. It’s a historic moment for them.” said France coach Didier Deschamps, whose contract expired after the tournament. By advancing to the semifinals, he and the team fulfilled the goal set by Le Graët.
“I will train in the semifinals and then we will see what happens. I didn’t know anything before. We will work it out when it comes. It is very good that we have fulfilled what the president of the federation wanted from me and he is satisfied. But let’s let’s enjoy the win over England. We’re in the bottom four again. Let’s focus on Wednesday. I’m not thinking about anything else at the moment.” Deschamps pointed out.
“We have a strong squad, but also the right attitude. Maybe we were a bit lucky. We are enjoying it.” said Deschamps, one of three men to dominate the World Cup as a player and coach.
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