Giroud's goal wasn’t just stunning – it was a piece of pragmatism | Barney Ronay

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Is it time, you wonder at moments like these, to accept that Giroud is simply an outstanding centre-forward?Olivier Giroud is 6ft 4in tall, weighs 14½ stone and is 34 years old. This Champions League last-16 first leg was his 574th game in 16 years as a professional footballer. Even in his late-20s pomp Giroud was always a heavy piece of equipment, an ambling, handsome upended sofa-bed of a centre-forward, not so much bullish as bovine, with a slightly bashful sense of craft.Even as a World Cup winner Giroud has always had that likable air of the outsider, the Ligue 2 arriviste still just chasing the next step, the next break. With 68 minutes gone at the Arena Nationala, on a night of tight, fine-detail football, Giroud found himself in another strange and surprising position. Continue reading...

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