Olivier Giroud’s contribution for France has been hailed by head coach Didier Deschamps, who hinted that he feels Chelsea are missing a trick by not including the 33-year-old attacker more regularly.
In a laboured display, Giroud provided a fine focal point for France’s attacking playing due to his physical style, which helped Les Bleus score a controversial equaliser against Moldova, while his coolness under pressure allowed him to slot the winner in a 2-1 victory from the penalty spot after Everton’s Lucas Digne had been fouled.
The world champions may have been far from their best in the Euro 2020 qualifier at Stade de France, but Giroud was one of the few to gain pass marks and his coach was happy to talk him up in the aftermath.
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“Is he indispensable? Because of what he does – whether he’s indispensable or not – he’s very useful, very effective,” the former Marseille coach considered. “His goal didn’t give us qualification – we already had that – but it’s allowed us to take back first place.”
Deschamps says that even when he is not scoring goals, such as during the 2018 World Cup, in which he failed to tally even a shot on target, he can be a vital player for the team, suggesting that is something his club side Chelsea are overlooking by using him scantly.
“What he doesn’t have at Chelsea, he has here with us,” Deschamps said. “He remains in the starting XI, and it’s not just been today or yesterday, it’s been a long time. Even when he has periods when he scores fewer goals, he allows the players around him to have opportunities and to score goals too.”
Giroud, who has played 96 times for his country since debuting as a 25-year-old in 2011, is now up to 39 goals – third on the all-time list behind only Thierry Henry (51) and Michel Platini (41).
On Sunday, it is expected that he will lead the line in Albania as France chase three points to secure top spot in Group H, which would give them a shot at being one of the top seeds when the draw for the Euro 2020 finals is made.