Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud delighted to silence his critics

France won World Cup by beating Croatia 4-2 in final

Olivier Giroud
Image: Olivier Giroud helped France to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud says he enjoyed silencing his critics, and used their criticism as motivation to help France win the World Cup.

Two decades after helping Les Bleus become world champions as a player, Didier Deschamps led this young, exciting generation to the crown for the second time.

France rode their luck before roaring to a 4-2 victory at the Luzhniki Stadium as Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe shone in an attack that older head Giroud spearheaded.

The 31-year-old again failed to score as he ended the tournament goalless, leading to criticism the Chelsea striker quietened by lifting the World Cup.

France captain Hugo Lloris lifts the World Cup trophy after the 4-2 defeat of Croatia
Image: France captain Hugo Lloris lifts the World Cup trophy after the 4-2 defeat of Croatia

"Not bad, it's a great feeling - I mean, 'it's coming home!' I had to say that," Giroud said with a smile to a group of English reporters.

"Honestly it's a dream come true, a childhood dream. I am very proud for all the people who supported us, and myself.

"It has been sometimes difficult you know but it is a privilege for me to be part of this team. We have been very solid, very strong all the way, until the end. And I think it's well deserved."

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Asked to explain what he meant by difficult moments, the striker - proudly wearing his winners' medal - said: "All of my career I have been, how can I say... I have been through certain difficulties and I have always tried to make it.

"It motivates me to get better and better and go through these difficulties and it is what happens in life when you are really motivated, determined, committed, it is never easy.

"Football is very hard and people see only the nice part of the job. But we work very hard for this achievement and I am very proud to say I am a World Cup champion."

France boss Deschamps defended Giroud in the build-up to the final, pointing to his diligent work and support play.

That work has been important over the year for club and country, but the striker has come in for flak in his homeland as well as the Premier League.

"No, no, no [I don't feel more respected in France] because I have been criticised a little but in France as well," the ex-Arsenal striker said.

Didier Deschamps, Manager of France celebrates with the World Cup Trophy following his sides victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia
Image: France manager Didier Deschamps celebrates with the World Cup

"For example, I didn't score in the World Cup. I receive a lot of messages from people who know football well, lots of French supporters.

"They see the work I do for the team and a lot of people wanted me to score in the final.

"I said 'yes I hope so but even if I don't score and we are world champions it will be the best thing that has happened in my life' so I don't know if I have had a chance again. I tried to work for the team and I know what I can bring to the team.

"It's the same for my team-mates. It is not one or two players or 11 players, it is 23 and that was the strength of the French team this year."

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