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Olivier Giroud

Giroud after ending France drought: I am full of joy

22:53 IST 09/09/2018
Olivier Giroud France Netherlands Nations League 09092018
The striker was unable to find the net during his country's World Cup triumph, but he stepped up to sink Netherlands on Sunday

Olivier Giroud cut a delighted figure after his second-half strike secured a 2-1 Nations League victory for France over Netherlands in Paris.

Les Bleus were making their competitive homecoming after winning the 2018 World Cup and dazzled early on, with the irrepressible Kylian Mbappe netting a 14th-minute opener.

But Didier Deschamps' men allowed the game to drift and Ryan Babel equalised for the visitors midway through the second half.

It fell to Giroud to find the winner, having not scored over the course of seven appearances in Russia, as he volleyed home Benjamin Mendy's 74th-minute cross.

"I am full of joy," the Chelsea striker told RTL after a 32nd international goal put him fourth on France's all-time list.

"To be so supported by a crowd like that... it makes us want to fight right until the end.

"It was not easy. It's always difficult to come back as world champions, but we wanted to win our first after the World Cup at home. 

"We have claimed this good point in Germany [Thursday's 0-0 draw in Munich]. We showed determination all the time until the end and that's good. We were rewarded."

Mendy's assist came after Netherlands seized upon slack defending from the Manchester City left-back to grab an equaliser.

But Giroud was happy to see a response that displayed the second-half substitute's attacking prowess.

"I know Benjamin Mendy's ability to centre hard at the very far post and I went deep," he added.

"Good for me, so much the better for the team. I am very happy for all of us. "