France striker Giroud finds solace in international break

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud, who has only started six Premier League games and scored once from 21 appearances in the English top flight this season, now has 35 goals from 89 caps with France. — Reuters pic
Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud, who has only started six Premier League games and scored once from 21 appearances in the English top flight this season, now has 35 goals from 89 caps with France. — Reuters pic

PARIS, March 26 — France forward Olivier Giroud left his club frustrations behind him as two goals in two games saw him reach an international milestone that cemented his place among his country’s greats.

The Chelsea striker, who has only started six Premier League games and scored once from 21 appearances in the English top flight this season, now has 35 goals from 89 caps with France.

The 32-year-old is now alone in third place in the list of France’s all-time top scorers between Michel Platini (41) and David Trezeguet (34). Thierry Henry tops the list with 51 goals.

Giroud, who has nine goals in as many games in the Europa League this term, scored for France in a 4-1 win in Moldova last Friday and again in yesterday’s 4-0 win over Iceland in Euro 2020 qualifiers, a welcome breath of fresh air with Les Bleus.

“From a personal point of view it must be a source of great pride for him,” coach Didier Deschamps told reporters at the Stade de France after the comfortable Group H victory.

“He arrived with us having not played a lot with his club even if he has been super efficient in the Europa League and with us he scored twice in two games.

“He is playing according to his style, he brings something to the team.”

Giroud’s positioning in the penalty area draws most of the defence’s attention as his physical presence poses a constant threat and it helps his fellow forwards find space.

As a result, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe, who both also scored against Moldova and Iceland, enjoyed relative freedom against two defensive-minded sides.

It was Giroud’s goal that put France 2-0 up, leaving Iceland with virtually no chance of a comeback.

“We know he’s a really important player for them the way they play,” said visiting coach Erik Hamren.

“You cold see that today, how they use him, he’s a really good player for France the way they use him.”

There is a good chance that Deschamps will use Giroud again in June when they face Turkey, who also have a maximum six points in Group H after beating Moldova 4-0 earlier yesterday. — Reuters

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