OLIVIER GIROUD fired himself into the shop window with another double for France.
And his goals against Sweden last night mean he is now just seven goals behind Thierry Henry’s record tally.Olivier Giroud proved his class once again on the international stage with a double against Sweden[/caption] Giroud scored a diving header from Kylian Mbappe’s cross to move on to 44 France goals[/caption]
French boss Didier Deschamps warned last week Giroud will need to be playing regular club football or is at risk of losing his place in the national team squad ahead of the rearranged Euros.
Deschamps said: “The situation he has at his club, knowing that he has a large frame and that he needs rhythm, it’s hard.
“That’s not why I want to lose him, it’s complicated, we’ll talk. But obviously he has every interest in it not lasting and for him to remain competitive – we must not forget what he did with us and what he is still able to do.”
After Viktor Claesson’s deflected strike had given the visitors a shock fourth-minute lead at the Stade de France, the veteran forward got his country level 12 minutes later, turning in Marcus Thuram’s cross.
Benjamin Pavard’s goal ensured France led at the break before Giroud squandered a glorious chance to make it three by heading wide.
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He did not have to wait long to get his second, though, as he met Kylian Mbappe’s ball in with a spectacular diving header on the hour mark.
That moved the ex-Arsenal man on to 44 international goals on his 105th cap – almost an identical strike rate to Henry who managed 51 in 123 for Les Bleus.
And it also ensured Giroud will finish the calendar year as France’s top scorer for the fifth time in the last six years – only being pipped in the World Cup-winning 2018.
Robin Quaison pulled one back for Sweden in the 88th minute but Kingsley Coman wrapped up the scoring on the counter deep into injury time when Sweden sent everyone forward for a corner, including the goalkeeper.
Deschamps’ side had already pipped reigning champions Portugal to the top of League A Group 3.
Spain also booked their place in the Nations League semi-finals with a 6-0 thrashing of Germany.
Belgium and Denmark face off tonight to finish top of Group 2 while Italy know victory in Bosnia will secure their spot – but defeat for the Azzurri would open the way for Netherlands or Poland to overtake them.
Read our Chelsea live blog for the very latest news from the BridgeGiroud has featured for just 33 minutes in the Premier League this season after dropping down the Chelsea pecking order[/caption] Henry managed 51 international goals for Les Bleus in 123 caps[/caption]