Giroud equals Zidane's France scoring record

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Only three men have now scored more times for Les Bleus than the 31-year-old Chelsea hitman

Olivier Giroud has equalled Zinedine Zidane’s scoring record for France after netting his 31st goal for his country in the 2-0 win over Ireland.

Although the Chelsea striker’s initial header was initially blocked by Ireland goalkeeper Colin Doyle, he followed up to force the ball over the line to give his side a 1-0 lead in their first World Cup warm-up match.

Giroud now lies joint fourth in Les Bleus’ all-time table of top scorers, having moved clear of Ballon d’Or winner Jean-Pierre Papin and Just Fontaine, the man who holds the individual record for goals scored at a World Cup, having netted 13 in six matches in 1958.

Having drawn level with Zidane, the 31-year-old has David Trezeguet in his sights, with the former Monaco and Juventus striker three better off with 34.

Michel Platini, meanwhile, is rather more distant with 41 all-time goals, while the leading marksman is Thierry Henry, who has netted 51 times.

"It's satisfying on a personal level, even though I did not have many opportunities tonight," he told TF1 after the game. "I felt good in my legs, even if we could not quite finalise our efforts during this match.

"I will remember especially the very good mindset and the very good start we made. We showed a lot of character, the desire to impose our game.

"We knew their qualities but we were sure of ours too. That's good, but we can improve. We could have been more dangerous, scored more goals, but in any case I think we had a lot of fun tonight."

Deschamps, meanwhile, was fulsome in his praise for the attacker: "He has been effective with us for a long time. This is what is asked of an attacker.

"He has other qualities too, but at the international level, he is part of a closed circle. He is a player unfairly and too often criticised.

"He does not have the qualities of other attackers, but his style of play allows the team to have sequences, which does not prevent him from being effective."

Giroud only made his debut as a 25-year-old in a 1-0 friendly victory over the USA in 2011 and was a rather slow-burner for his country, scoring only three times in his first 22 appearances. 

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Against Ireland, he won his 72nd cap and netted for the fourth time in his last five internationals.

No one has scored more under Didier Deschamps’ leadership, and he is expected to play a significant role as France chase their second world title in Russia. 

Zidane, who won a third successive European Cup as Real Madrid coach on Saturday, is best remembered for scoring twice in the 1998 World Cup final, which France won 3-0 against Brazil. He also netted a penalty against Italy in the final eight years later, though was later dismissed in that clash.

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