Around the 60-minute mark of Sunday’s Nations League clash between France and the Netherlands, Olivier Giroud reached 1000 minutes of match action without scoring a goal. As a striker, and despite his overall contributions in all phases of the game, that’s not a good statistic or burden to carry around.
Giroud may or may not have been aware of reaching that mark, which began after his goal for Chelsea against Liverpool in the 32nd minute of the match on May 6 — a dozen games, including an entire World Cup ago — but regardless, he redoubled his efforts and finally got one past the opposition goalkeeper. As with most Giroud goals, it was a fairly spectacular effort, a first-time finish of Benjamin Mendy’s whipped cross just ahead of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, the world’s most expensive defender ever.
The goal was Giroud’s 32nd for France in his career (83 games), which now puts him ahead of Zinedine Zidane (31 goals) and behind only David Trezeguet (34), Michel Platini (41), and Thierry Henry (51). Surely a top three mark is attainable, unless of course we have to wait another 1000 minutes for the next one!
Giroud’s goal proved to be the margin of difference in the 2-1 win against the Netherlands, for whom former Chelsea prospect Nathan Aké did not play. N’golo Kanté did finish the full match, and received a well deserved serenade from teammates and fans alike afterwards.
Elsewhere, Rüdiger played the second 45 for Germany in their 2-1 friendly win over Peru, and Ethan Ampadu got another start, but Wales could not contain Christian Eriksen, who notched a brace in Denmark’s 2-0 win. Andreas Christensen did not feature.