Wednesday, August 12, 2020

France 3-0 Scotland: Giroud double downs Scots

Olivier Giroud went some way to silencing the boo-boys by scoring twice as France rounded off their preparations for Euro 2016 with a classy 3-0 beating of Scotland in Metz.
Arsenal striker Giroud was on the scoresheet in Monday’s unconvincing 3-2 win over Cameroon, but was still largely jeered by the Nantes crowd.
But Giroud’s impressive international form continued against a poor Scotland team, opening the scoring with a clever flick before following up Dimitri Payet’s saved shot to make it seven goals in as many France outings.
Laurent Koscielny’s first international goal made it 3-0 before the break and the only surprise was that no more arrived in the second half, although Paul Pogba did strike the post.
Giroud, whose domestic position is seemingly under threat with Arsenal heavily linked with Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, was part of a wider impressive showing from the hosts.
Payet was the driving force in a dangerous attack before being replaced at half-time, while Blaise Matuidi, N’Golo Kante and Pogba were superb in midfield.
Bigger tests lay in wait for France and Giroud, but head coach Didier Deschamps has plenty of cause for optimism ahead of the hosts’ Euro 2016 opener versus Romania in Paris on Friday.

A remote-controlled car delivered the ball to the centre circle pre kick-off and France were immediately in the driving seat with Giroud forcing David Marshall into a top-drawer save when he directed Payet’s free-kick goalward.
The Arsenal striker had his first goal in the eighth minute, though. Bacary Sagna crossed low from the right and Giroud’s clever backheel flick had the beating of the Scotland goalkeeper.
France remained in the ascendancy and Kingsley Coman’s 20-yard drive brought the best out of Marshall, but it was deservedly 2-0 in the 35th minute.
The excellent Payet brilliantly surged through the Scottish defence and, although his edge-of-the-box shot was parried by Marshall, Giroud slid in to prod home the rebound.
Marshall then saved smartly at close range from Matuidi, but from the following corner Koscielny nodded home inside the six-yard box when Payet’s delivery was flicked towards the back post by Patrice Evra.

Antoine Griezmann and Anthony Martial replaced Payet and Coman at half-time, the former getting his first Euro 2016 warm-up run out having featured in Atletico Madrid’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid last weekend.
France continued to dominate as Pogba saw a goalbound effort deflected wide and the Juventus midfielder went even closer just after the hour when his 25-yard free-kick cannoned off the left-hand post.
Martial proved a menace for France down the left, while Pogba landed a speculative long-range free-kick on the roof of the net.
Yohan Cabaye and Griezmann went close late on, but the damage had long since been done as an impressive France marched on towards what they hope will be a triumphant tournament on home soil.


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