French striker Olivier Giroud entered Sunday’s round of 16 match against Poland tied with national legend Thierry Henry as the nation’s all-time leading goal scorer on the men’s side.
Late in the first half against Poland, Giroud moved atop the list, as he scored against Poland and keeper Wojciech Szczęsny to both give his team the lead, and break his tie with Henry.
In the closing minutes of a first half that saw both teams with chances to break the scoreless tie France finally pushed into the lead with Giroud’s goal, his second of the tournament. Giroud found himself with a golden opportunity, thanks to a precise pass from Kylian Mbappé, and he made the most of his chance:
GIROUD DOES IT— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 4, 2022
With this goal Olivier Giroud becomes the France men's national team all-time leading scorer pic.twitter.com/YFm8503bKq
After scoring, Giroud acknowledge both his 52 national goals, and the man whose record he broke:
Olivier Giroud holds up 52 after breaking Thierry Henry's scoring record 5️⃣2️⃣ pic.twitter.com/Zr8rfdaykj— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 4, 2022
There was a time where Giroud’s place on the team for the World Cup was in question. Following France’s exit from the 2021 Euros, he was on a nine-month hiatus from the team. But he was called back to the roster in March, and named to the final roster before the tournament. With France facing a rash of injuries before the World Cup, including to Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, his presence was needed as the tournament began.
And he has made the most of the opportunity.
It looked like he had his second early in the second half, in an incredible bicycle kick, but the goal was nullified for a foul:
Olivier Giroud is feeling it today— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 4, 2022
The goal doesn't count after a foul is called, but this bike kick was pic.twitter.com/sAMQ3BkATM
Perhaps the biggest question is how long he will remain the leading goal scorer for France. Earlier in the World Cup, Mbappé scored his seventh goal at a World Cup, tying a mark set by Pele with seven goals before turning 24. And he entered Sunday with 31 goals for France, and added both his 32nd and his 33rd in the second half against Poland. At this rate it seems like just a matter of time before he moves past both Henry and Giroud.
For now, however, Giroud stands atop the list, a tremendous accomplishment in a career filled with tremendous accomplishments