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Record scorer Giroud bows out anonymously as France exit Euro 2024

France’s leading goal-scorer, Olivier Giroud, quietly concluded his international career on Tuesday with a brief appearance as a substitute in their 2-1 semi-final defeat to Spain at the European Championship.

Giroud, who represented Les Bleus 137 times and scored 57 goals, the highest tally for any French player, had hoped for a final memorable moment in Germany but was mostly consigned to the bench. Throughout the tournament, he managed just 56 minutes of game time across four substitute appearances, with two attempts on goal.

The 37-year-old had already announced his retirement from international football before the Euros, having moved to Los Angeles FC after concluding his stint at AC Milan last season.

Reflecting on Giroud’s contributions, coach Didier Deschamps acknowledged both his achievements and challenges, praising his longevity, professionalism, and leadership within the squad despite reduced playing time during the Euro.

Giroud made his debut for France in 2011 under Laurent Blanc’s management and was a pivotal member of the World Cup-winning squad in 2018. He also played in the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar and was part of the runner-up team in the Euro 2016 final.

Interestingly, Giroud’s role in France’s 2018 World Cup victory saw him lead the attack without scoring a goal throughout the tournament in Russia. In Qatar four years later, he contributed four goals as France advanced to the final but ultimately lost to Argentina in a penalty shootout.

In explaining his decision to retire internationally, Giroud mentioned feeling the physical demands of playing at the highest level every few days, despite believing he still had the capability to perform for a couple more years.

Overall, Giroud leaves a lasting legacy in French football, marked by his prolific goal-scoring record and significant contributions to the national team’s success over the years.

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