Olivier Giroud has been handed a recall by France and a chance to put himself firmly back in Didier Deschamps’ World Cup plans.
The Milan striker has not featured in a match for France since Les Bleus exited Euro 2020 at the hands of Switzerland last June.
He has 46 goals for his country in 110 games, which puts him only five strikes behind Thierry Henry on the team’s all-time list.
It appeared Giroud’s international career might be over as coach Deschamps opted against calling him into recent squads.
However, a calf injury sustained by Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, ruling him out of Sunday’s game against Barcelona, has led to Giroud landing a summons to join up with France for the upcoming friendlies against Ivory Coast and South Africa.
The French Football Federation announced the news on its website, adding that the France staff wished Benzema “a swift recovery”.
Deschamps spoke about Giroud after excluding him from a 23-player squad on Thursday, pointing to the 35-year-old’s impressive form for Milan.
Giroud has helped Milan top Serie A, scoring eight goals in 20 games in the league, ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Cagliari.
Assessing Giroud, Deschamps said: “It’s going well for him at the moment. He’s scoring important goals with Milan. I’m happy for him.
“I’ve got decisions to make. I know what Olivier is capable of doing with us. He remains available to France even if I haven’t called him up for this get-together.”
Now, though, Giroud comes into the picture once again, eight months out from the World Cup in Qatar.
France play Ivory Coast in Marseille on March 25, and South Africa in Lille four days later.
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