The 2022 World Cup final is here, and on Sunday, the defending champions France will take on Argentina. This contest is billed as a matchup between Paris Saint-Germain teammates and two of the best players in the world, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi. However, if the France-Argentina match ends with Mbappe’s side lifting the trophy, it will be just as much because of the France X-factor, Olivier Giroud, as it is because of Mbappe.


Olivier Giroud is the France X-factor in the World Cup final vs. Argentina

On Sunday, the France National Team will try to do something that no country has done at the World Cup since Brazil in 1962. That’s the last time a nation repeated as World Cup champs.

In that final, Brazil’s superstar, Pele, was out injured, and players like Zito, Vava, and Amarildo had to step up and score the goals for Brazil to win 3-1 over Czechoslovakia. In the 2022 World Cup, Kylian Mbappe will be on the pitch, but after taking a tough challenge from a Morocco defender in the semifinal, he may not be at 100% with a lower leg knock.

That means it will be up to someone else on the team to step up in the France-Argentina match if the defending champs hope to repeat. And on Sunday, that player — that X-factor — will be French striker Olivier Giroud.

Giroud played in his first World Cup in 2014, appearing in all five games, starting two, and scoring one goal. In 2018, the longtime Chelsea and Arsenal striker played in all seven France matches and started all but one. However, Giroud didn’t just fail to score a goal in that tournament. He didn’t put one of his 13 shots on target.

While that sounds bad (and the media had a field day with it), Giroud’s 2018 performance is actually underrated. The veteran hitman made thankless runs and occupied center-backs’ attention while the in-his-prime star Antoine Griezmann and a 19-year-old teenager named Kylian Mbappe scored four goals apiece.