France World Cup triumph 'a childhood dream' -- Chelsea's Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud called France's World Cup victory a "dream come true" after he helped his country to its second world title on Sunday.
"It's a great feeling. I mean, 'it's coming home!' I had to say that. Honestly, it's a dream come true, a childhood dream. I am very proud for all the people who supported us, myself," the Chelsea striker said on Monday following France's 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final.
"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."
Asked about the difficulties he faced, Giroud clarified, adding that outside criticism has always been a motivating factor in his career.
"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," the former Arsenal man said.
World Cup 2018 must-reads
- World Cup fixtures, results and coverage
- Marcotti: France won fitting finale to the World Cup
- Ogden: Mbappe showed why he is football's future king
- Ames: Croatia must make this World Cup a beginning
- Project Russia: Allez les Bleus!
- Ogden: Hazard's reputation, value have never been higher
- ESPN FC TV: Scary how ambiguous handball rule is
"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."
Giroud failed to score in Russia but joined Antoine Griezmann and budding superstar Kylian Mbappe to form an imposing French forward line that proved a handful for opposition defences.
His lack of goals did not go unnoticed, however, as Giroud had already earned a reputation for not providing a sufficient goal return during his time at the Emirates.
Asked if he felt more respected in his home country than in England, he said: "No, no, no, because I have been criticised a little, but in France as well. Because 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 tonight.'
"I tried to work for the team, and I know what I can bring to the team. It's the same for my teammates. It is not one or two players or 11 players. It is 23, and that was the strength of the French team this year."
France's World Cup triumph was the country's second. The other came when Zinedine Zidane's team lifted the cup on home soil in 1998.
Giroud related that the 2018 edition didn't feel pressure to emulate the heroes from 20 years ago.
He said: "No, we really wanted, because it was 20 years ago, we really wanted to do it ourselves after the amazing generation they had with Zinedine Zidane and other players. We are very proud to be part of it. We had a little bit of pressure, but we wanted to show everybody that we can do it even if we are young ... and that's it."
Turning focus back to his club, Giroud was asked about Chelsea's recent hiring of Maurizio Sarri to replace the sacked Antonio Conte. The Frenchman said he was focused on rest.
"I need some holidays, and after that, I will be at Chelsea," he said.
Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.