Olivier Giroud scored a double as France beat Sweden in the Nations League but was not spurred on by recent criticism because he is “used to being heckled”.
In a surprise 2-0 loss in a friendly with Finland last week, Giroud only completed three more passes than goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, who was the only France player to have fewer touches than the Chelsea striker.
Giroud was dropped for Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Portugal but struck twice in a 4-2 win over Sweden on Tuesday, taking his tally for Les Bleus to 44 – seven shy of Thierry Henry’s all-time record.
The 34-year-old tucked home a cutback from Marcus Thuram after Viktor Claesson’s opener and scored an excellent diving header following Benjamin Pavard’s volley to turn the game around.
Robin Quaison pulled one back for Sweden in the 88th minute but, after they pushed goalkeeper Robin Olsen up for a free-kick in the hope of snatching a point to retain their League A status, Kingsley Coman hit them on the break to consign them to relegation.
“We had a lot of regrets and frustration, also on an individual level, against Finland. We wanted to learn from that match, and we were able to react against Portugal by dominating and deserving the victory,” Giroud told M6.
“This gathering is positive after this last match. Even if everything is not perfect, there is still a feeling of satisfaction.
“There was no feeling of revenge for me. I’m used to being heckled, it’s the story of my career. It gives me more strength. I have no problem with that.”
— French Team (@FrenchTeam) November 17, 2020
Didier Deschamps reiterated his suggestion that Giroud should look to leave Chelsea, where he has just started one game this season, to get more regular football in the build-up to next year’s European Championship.
With his double at the Stade de France, Giroud ensured he will end 2020 as Les Bleus’ highest scoring player for the fifth time in the past six years.
“The situation in March may not be the same as it is today. But, between the young players who came and who we were able to see – and it is important that they have playing time – and the old ones who are still there, some may be in difficulty like Olivier Giroud,” said Deschamps.
“Of course, he has to deal with his situation, psychologically and physically, but today he’s still there and he’s scored two more.
“You are going to tell me that he won points and Anthony Martial lost some, but no, it’s the France team that wins points. Some are starting, and others came as substitutes. I have different options. I have top-level players and in terms of the mood that’s perfect.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!