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Giroud scores brace as France relegate Sweden in Nations League

FOOTBALL By Reuters | November 18th 2020
France's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring their first goal [REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes]

Olivier Giroud bagged a double as he showed his worth for France again to help the world champions beat Sweden 4-2 at home in the Nations League on Tuesday.

Giroud scored either side of Benjamin Pavard’s first-half strike as Les Bleus recovered from Viktor Claesson’s early opener.

Sweden, who reduced the arrears through Robin Quaison before France’s Kingsley Coman wrapped it up in stoppage time, were relegated into League B.

Didier Deschamps’s France side, who had already qualified for the Final Four, topped Group 3 with 16 points from six games, three points ahead of Portugal, who beat third-placed Croatia 3-2 away.

Sweden finished bottom on three points, behind Croatia on goal difference.

Giroud, who has only made three Premier League appearances for Chelsea this season, has now netted 44 international goals to move seven shy of Thierry Henry’s all-time France scoring record.

France's Benjamin Pavard in action with Sweden's Pierre Bengtsson [REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes]

Claesson put the visitors ahead after four minutes when his shot from inside the box took a deflection off Raphael Varane and wrongfooted Hugo Lloris.

Les Bleus hit back in the 16th minute, with Giroud finding the back of the net with a low shot on the turn from Marcus Thuram’s cutback.

Pavard gave France the lead nine minutes before the break with a low, driven volley after Thuram had drawn the defence towards him with a dazzling run into the box.

Giroud, who has been warned by Deschamps that he needs to sort out his club situation in order to stay in the squad, put the result beyond doubt with a header from second-half substitute Kylian Mbappe in the 59th minute.

Quaison pulled one back two minutes from fulltime but it was too little, too late for Sweden, who conceded another from late substitute Coman at the end of a counter attack five minutes into added time.

 

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