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O. Giroud

'Lucky' Giroud would be nothing without Benzema's France absences, claims Souness

18:07 GMT 26/11/2022
Giroud France Australia
Graeme Souness has hit out France's joint-record scorer Olivier Giroud, stating that he would be nothing without Karim Benzema's international hiatus.
  • Giroud became France's joint top scorer
  • Souness criticised Henry comparisons
  • Believes striker has been lucky in his career

WHAT HAPPENED? Speaking before France's match against Denmark on Saturday, Souness was critical of Giroud's record for France and comparisons made between him and Thierry Henry. He also claimed that the AC Milan forward had been fortunate to get the run of game time he's had, which he attributes largely to Benzema's spell away from the team.

WHAT THEY SAID: "I'm not his biggest fan," Souness told ITV. "Seven games in the last World Cup in the team that wins it and he never had a shot on target. When you talk about mentioning him in the same breath as Thierry Henry - sorry!  I would say his record is there for one reason: Benzema being out for such a long time because of all the controversy he's involved with.

"Benzema, the current Ballon d'Or holder, will be missed in this French team this competition. Benzema is completely on another level. I don't think he'll have a look in at this World Cup if Benzema had been available. He's hard a large slice of luck in his career."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Souness' comments come just a few days after Giroud equalled Henry's goalscoring record for France, thanks to a brace in their group stage opener against Australia. The holders dispelled any myth of a World Cup winners' curse, winning their first two matches of the tournament and thus becoming the first team to qualify for the last 16.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR GIROUD? Without a goal in France's victory over Denmark on Saturday, the Milan forward will hope to take his goalscoring record beyond Henry's when they take on Tunisia on November 30.