France striker Olivier Giroud a doubt for the World Cup final against Argentina
Just when it looked as if things were starting to look rosy again on the selection front for France head coach Didier Deschamps, along comes another potential setback, with L’Équipe reporting that target man Olivier Giroud is in danger of missing Sunday’s Qatar 2022 World Cup final against Argentina.
Deschamps has had several injury and illness worries to contend with over the course of the last few days although the worst of it seems to be over. Defender Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot, who started four of France’s first five games in the tournament, missed the semi-final victory over Morocco due to illness, with the virus subsequently passed on to centre-backs Raphaël Varane and Ibrahima Konaté, who started in the heart of the defence against the Atlas Lions, and winger Kingsley Coman.
There had been fears earlier in the week that the bug could put paid to at least some of their hopes of featuring in Sunday’s final but all five players returned to training on Saturday and look to be ready to play. Interestingly, L’Équipe also revealed that Deschamps tested out a central defensive pairing of Upamecano and Konaté, presumably as a trial run should regular starter Varane suffer a setback before kick-off.
How many goals has Olivier Giroud scored for France at the World Cup?
But just when it appeared as if the treatment room would be empty going into the Argentina clash, Deschamps has suffered another potential headache. Striker Olivier Giroud, who has been the focal point of the French attack and has played a key role in bringing out the best in star man Kylian Mbappé, is struggling with a knee problem, which puts his participation at risk.
The Milan forward has cemented himself as Deschamps’ favoured striking option, aided by the fact that Karim Benzema was forced to go home just before the tournament got underway. Giroud was somewhat harshly criticised for failing to score in France 2018 World Cup win but has found the net on four occasions in Qatar, including the winner in the quarter-final against England, which leaves him one goal behind teammate Mbappé and Lionel Messi in the race for the Golden Boot.
Who could start for France instead of Olivier Giroud?
Should Giroud ultimately not be available, Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram, who has come off the bench in three matches at the tournament so far, is likely to be next in line to start, although Randal Kolo Muani of Eintracht Frankfurt made an instant impact after coming on against Morocco, scoring with his first touch after only 44 seconds.