Giroud eyes Platini's record after scoring again for Les Bleus

France's Olivier Giroud scoring against Iceland during the 4-0 win in their Euro 2020 qualifying match on Monday. The goal moved him to third place on the list of France's all-time top scorers on 35 goals, one ahead of David Trezeguet. Giroud now tra
France's Olivier Giroud scoring against Iceland during the 4-0 win in their Euro 2020 qualifying match on Monday. The goal moved him to third place on the list of France's all-time top scorers on 35 goals, one ahead of David Trezeguet. Giroud now trails only Thierry Henry (51) and Michel Platini (41).PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PARIS • As a striker, Olivier Giroud has always been a polarising figure with his profligacy in front of goal.

However, his unselfish play and hold-up ability have always been treasured at both club and international levels.

While his value has fallen at Chelsea, having started only six Premier League games this season, he remains one of the first names on Didier Deschamps' team sheet.

On Monday, he showed why the France coach continues to keep faith in him as he "brings something different to the other two strikers".

Giroud put his club frustrations behind him after his second goal in his second competitive game saw him reach an international milestone, cementing his place among his country's greats.

France hammered Iceland 4-0 at the Stade de France, with forwards Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann and defender Samuel Umtiti also among the scorers. The world champions stayed top of Group H in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, ahead of Turkey on goal difference.

But it was Giroud who earned all the plaudits after notching his 35th goal from 89 international caps to move to third place on the list of France's all-time top scorers, one goal ahead of David Trezeguet.

Only Thierry Henry (51) and Michel Platini (41) have scored more than the 32-year-old, something Deschamps feels "must be a source of great pride for him".

He said: "He arrived with us having not played a lot with his club, even if he has been super efficient in the Europa League (he has nine goals in as many games this term).

"With us, he scored twice in two games. He remains effective and he is playing according to his style."

His opposite number Erik Hamren agreed, claiming Giroud "was a really important player for them the way they play".

The Iceland coach said: "You could see that today, how they use him, he's a really good player for France the way they use him."

And Giroud, whose Blues' contract expires in the summer, has no plans to relinquish his position as France's target man, even as rumours swirl around his possible return to Ligue 1 with Lyon.

Telling website Tribal Football he had an eye on overtaking Platini's mark, he said: "Yes it's (an) objective. I always said that the important thing for me was the collective. But it is true that, personally, I hope to beat this record."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2019, with the headline 'Giroud eyes Platini's record after scoring again for Les Bleus'. Print Edition | Subscribe