LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - A rare starter for his club Arsenal this season, Olivier Giroud once again proved his worth to France when he bagged a double in their 3-1 win in Luxembourg in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
The powerful striker’s 22nd and 23rd international goals lifted him to 10th on the list of France’s all-time top scorers after being Les Bleus’ leading marksman in 2016.
“Even if he’s got difficulties at his club, Olivier often scores for us,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.
Giroud has started only seven Premier League games for Arsenal, but he showed no sign of rustiness against Luxembourg as his muscular presence proved invaluable against a team playing very defensively.
He scored the first goal from close range after a fine pass from Djibril Sidibe and headed home the second from Benjamin Mendy’s cross in his 60th international.
“It’s a real pleasure because strikers need goals and statistics are important for us,” Giroud said.
“Whatever people say about me, I stay true to myself and give my answers on the pitch.”
His performance helped France stay top of qualifying Group A with 13 points from five games, three ahead of Sweden who they visit on June 9.
Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond