I completely agree with Didier Dechamps not starting Olivier Giroud. Giroud would not have been effective for a 90-minute stretch. He doesn’t have the pace nor creativity to penetrate a stout German defense.
What Giroud is, though, is a goal poacher. He’s a super sub. He would have worked just like Romelu Lukaku against the USMNT. When everyone else is tired, Giroud with full stamina is an incredibly dangerous weapon. He has the aerial ability to contend with the best in the league.
So why then did Dechamps wait until the 84th minute to bring on the striker?
You’re basically telling Giroud, here’s a handful of minutes, good luck. He needs more time than that. Bringing him on for Luis Valbuena should have happened around the 75th minute.
On any given attack on goal, Giroud is going to be present. He’ll be there for air balls, and he’ll be there for rebounds. Like I said, he won’t create opportunities; he’s nothing more than a poacher. Poachers are at their best late in the game but not so late that they have no time to work. After subbing in Giroud, France did not have that many opportunities to equalize, and the one in stoppage time was set up by a beautiful Giroud pass.
In the end, Benzema was not very effective and the French attack fell flat. That was obvious pretty early on. Antoine Griezman and Valbuena were the only two players who were penetrating. But they needed someone to feed the ball to, especially late on, and Giroud would have been the perfect answer. But he wouldn’t appear until five minutes left in the game, and that just wasn’t enough time.