Interview

Kante and Giroud's World Cup memories

N'Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud returned to Cobham last week as World Cup winners. To celebrate their achievement, we asked the French pair to talk us through a selection of significant photos from their victorious campaign. 

It was a summer to remember for Kante and Giroud, who played in each of their nation's games in Russia as Les Bleus tasted glory on the world stage for the second time. 

Now back at Chelsea, we showed the pair a selection of photos to bring those wonderful memories flooding back. Here's what they had to say...

Giroud: 'I came off the bench when it was 1-1, and I just tried to help the team to win this game. I played a one-two with Paul Pogba and after we were a bit lucky, but I was very happy to help the team win the first game.'

Kante: 'I remember it was a difficult game. It was my first World Cup game, and it was the same for many of the players. We got to 1-1, and Olivier’s understanding with Griezmann made it easier. He did a good movement with Paul. He helped us a lot to start well the competition.

'After that we found a good team shape during the competition. Olivier was working with Griezmann, and they did very well to cause problems for the defenders, to fight when we needed to fight, and to help us when we needed to defend. They helped us be decisive in this competition.'

 

Giroud: 'I think that game put us in a different position. Before that we were criticised, even in France, for the Denmark game. It was a bit weird because Denmark didn’t want to play too much because they were pleased with second place, and even we didn’t really know how to play it.

'So against Argentina it was a perfect game. We were losing 2-1, we scored some amazing goals, and I was very pleased to assist Kylian who killed the game. It was very important to score this fourth one because they came back in the last minute and made it 4-3. It was the turning point of our competition.'

 

Kante: 'Eden is a fantastic player. We all know his ability to dribble and cause problems for the defender. He was very good during the World Cup, especially against us. We tried to keep him quiet, but sometimes he made the difference. We were able to do a good game together, to stop him, and to win the game, but he did a beautiful tournament.'

 

Giroud: 'Actually I was the first one to see the handball. First of all, I saw the ref and he was saying ‘goal kick, goal kick’ - he was not convinced at all. But I think we put something in his head, because then he spoke with VAR, and obviously in this tournament it made a massive difference. It was very important in helping the referees make good decisions.'

 

Giroud: 'I was basically crying! I can’t explain that moment. When the final whistle blew, you just want to run everywhere, to jump on your team-mates. I was on the bench for the last 15 minutes, and I could start to realise what was happening. I ran on to the pitch, I crossed Adil Rami and we hugged, and then I stayed maybe 10 seconds on the floor, when this photo was taken, wondering to myself what had just happened. After that I went to enjoy it with my team-mates, but I was basically crying like a kid.'

 

Kante: 'It is quite heavy, and very shiny! We all know what this trophy means. It is something you dream of from when you are young. To get it in your hands represents a lot, for me, for the people who helped me to be here and the professional that I am, for my clubs, and when I see this picture I can remember the work we did together for two months. It brings a smile to my face.'

 

Giroud: 'When we landed in France from the airport to the Champs Elysees, there were so many motorbikes following us, taking so many risks to come closer to the coach. I was at the back of the coach with Antoine and he was holding the World Cup, and everybody was trying to get a photo of it. It was crazy, mad.

'After, when we arrived at the Champs Elysees, we jumped on the bus, and it was even more impressive. There were so many people on the Champs Elysees, with the Arc de Triomphe. I took a video of the crowd at the moment the airforce came over with smoke with the colours of the French flag behind, and it is a video I will keep forever, that is for sure.'

Kante: 'After the final, we saw videos from France, and we could see what a big impact it had in France. When we came back home, we could see everyone was happy for us and wanted to enjoy this time with us. It is really something we will never forget.'


Maurizio Sarri had plenty of good things to say about Kante after he scored against Huddersfield on Saturday...

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