Home » Sport » Celebrating Olivier Giroud & Julian Alvarez's transformation from understudies to leading men in Qatar | The Sun
Celebrating Olivier Giroud & Julian Alvarez's transformation from understudies to leading men in Qatar | The Sun
MANY parallels can be drawn between Olivier Giroud and Julian Alvarez's World Cup campaigns.
Both were expected to be back-up options in Qatar but now find themselves as starting centre-forwards for the two teams most likely to lift the trophy.
In the case of Milan's experienced target man, the door was opened by Karim Benzema's injury when the current Ballon d'Or holder withdrew from France's squad on the eve of the tournament.
While this was something of a blow for Les Bleus, it was by no means a disaster as Didier Deschamps is a huge fan of Giroud, who led France's line for years during Benzema's international exile.
France won the World Cup in Russia with Giroud acting as selfless striker so that Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe could express themselves, he didn't even register a shot on target – four years later he's shown a sharper eye for goal.
The Man City forward's journey from understudy to leading man has been rather different.
Lautaro Martinez started the tournament as Argentina's first-choice striker and deservedly so, the 25-year-old was his side's joint-leading scorer in qualifying.
He also scored crucial goals during the Albiceleste's successful Copa America campaign and subsequent 3-0 Finalissima victory over Italy at Wembley.
Martinez entered the tournament having scored eight goals and provided six assists for Inter in the first half of the current season, which makes his sudden loss of form even stranger.
For whatever reason, his finishing has deserted him in Qatar, although he did convert the winning spot-kick in the penalty shootout against Netherlands.
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