France coach Didier Deschamps praised Olivier Giroud following Les Bleus’ 2-1 UEFA Nations League win over the Netherlands, a match that saw the Chelsea striker break his international scoring drought with the game-winning goal.
“I’m very happy for Olivier. It happens that strikers have periods when they are less effective,” Deschamps told broadcaster M6 after Sunday’s game. It was France’s first home game since lifting the World Cup in July.
Giroud’s goal off Benjamin Mendy’s cross in the 74th minute gave France the victory at Stade de France. It was his first goal for France in 10 matches — a span that included the seven-game campaign that ultimately saw the team win its second World Cup title.
“I said before the World Cup, Olivier is often unjustly criticised. We cannot ask him to do what other attackers do, but he is very important to the team. It is when he is not there that we realise his value,” Deschamp added.
Giroud’s international goal tally now stands at 32, one past the great Zinedine Zidane on France’s all-time scorers list.