Chelsea and France striker Olivier Giroud said that he was worried about being substituted before scoring the winner against Netherlands at Paris yesterday.
France registered their first win of the UEFA Nations League by beating Netherlands 2-1. France took the lead in the 14th minute thanks to Kylian Mbappe who tapped in a pass from Blaise Matuidi.
Netherlands equalised in the 67th minute through Ryan Babel. Eight minutes after Babel’s goal, Benjamin Mendy sent in a cross and Olivier Giroud volleyed it past Jasper Cillessen to restore the lead for France. This was Giroud’s 32nd goal from France and he overtook Zinedine Zidane in the list France’s all-time top scorers. He is now the country’s fourth highest goalscorer behind Thierry Henry, Michel Platini and David Trezeguet.
After the match, Giroud said, “I thought I was going to be taken off. The game against Germany was my first of the season as a starter and the coach took me off, which was normal. I suffered again physically today and I realised I didn’t have many minutes left.
I know Benjamin Mendy’s ability to cross to the near post and I went for it – it worked out well for me and the team. I’m very happy for everyone.”
France were given a hero’s welcome at the Stade de France. About the warm reception, Giroud said, We’re so happy to have been backed by the fans like that. They’ve always been behind us. We fought right until the end for these incredible fans and our nearest and dearest who were in the stands this evening.
It was not easy and it’s never easy to get back to work when you are world champions. It was not easy and it’s never easy to get back to work when you are world champions.
We got a good point in Germany (in their first Nations League game) and we showed our determination this evening right until the final whistle, earning our reward for it.
Didier Deschamps also praised Olivier Giroud for his performance. Deschamps said, “The win was the most important thing in order to make this a beautiful party. I’m very happy for Olivier Giroud. Strikers go through periods when they don’t score as many goals.
He’s useful to our play and he scored a lovely goal that gave us the win this evening. We’re going to savour it. There was a formidable atmosphere this evening and it’s going to carry on for a bit.”
France’s next Nations League match is against Germany at the Stade de France next month.