Giroud fighting for start­ing spot again

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

PARIS, France (AP): DE­SPITE HELP­ING France reach the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship fi­nal, striker Olivier Giroud finds him­self once again fighting for his place in the na­tional side.

His po­si­tion has come un­der se­ri­ous threat from Kevin Gameiro, and coach Di­dier Deschamps must choose be­tween them to play along­side An­toine Griez­mann in to­day’s World Cup qual­i­fier against Swe­den.

Gameiro ap­pears to be the favourite to start, but Giroud’s phys­i­cal­ity and head­ing abil­ity could prove use­ful against a ro­bust Swe­den side level with France in Group A.

“Olivier and Kevin have dif­fer­ent styles. Olivier is more of a link player, Kevin is more about speed and mak­ing runs,” Deschamps said. “Both are very ef­fec­tive. I can use one at the start and one can come on dur­ing the match, de­pend­ing on the op­po­si­tion.”

Giroud scored three goals at Euro 2016, forg­ing a de­cent part­ner­ship with Griez­mann, the com­pe­ti­tion’s top scorer with six, but he has lost his place in the Arse­nal side to Chile striker Alexis Sanchez, while Gameiro is thriv­ing at club level along­side Griez­mann at Atletico Madrid.

Although Giroud started France’s first match in qual­i­fy­ing for the 2018 World Cup, he missed two clear chances in a 0-0 draw at Be­larus.

Gameiro re­placed him in a 4-1 win at home against Bul­garia and a 1-0 win at the Nether­lands. He scored twice against Bul­garia, with his sec­ond goal set up by Griez­mann. Their part­ner­ship is pro­gress­ing well at Atletico, where they have 13 goals be­tween them this sea­son.

How­ever, Giroud also has found some form re­cently for Arse­nal.

He came off the bench to score twice in quick suc­ces­sion in a 4-1 win at Sun­der­land and fol­lowed that up with a goal in the Champions League. France’s Olivier Giroud.

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