Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembele Substituted Before Halftime vs. Argentina in World Cup Final


The defending champions are in trouble.

France trailed Argentina 2-0 at halftime of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final on Sunday with Lionel Messi’s 23rd-minute penalty and Angel Di Maria’s 36th-minute finish in transition being the difference.

In desperate need of a change, manager Didier Deschamps made two bold changes in the 41st minute — before halftime arrived.

Starting striker Olivier Giroud and right winger Ousmane Dembele were hooked for Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram.

Giroud, who came into the game tied for third in the Golden Boot Award race with four goals, failed to make any key impact up top, but it was a surprising move given it could be the 36-year-old’s last ever World Cup game.

Dembele was at fault for the opening penalty when he unnecessarily fouled Di Maria in the box, leading to Messi’s sixth goal of the tournament.

Kolo Muani had scored France’s second and last goal in the 2-0 semifinal win against Morocco while Thuram had an assist to his name entering the final.

Mbappe switched to striker with Thuram taking his role at left wing. Kolo Muani slotted in at right wing.

The 23-year-old Mbappe logged just 11 touches in the first half in which France as a team did not log a single shot. Argentina, on the other hand, had six, with three hitting the target.

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