Arsenal’s Giroud to get back to scoring ways for France

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France face a stern test of their World Cup credentials at the Olimpiysky Stadium in Kiev but in Olivier Giroud they have a striker who is developing a knack for scoring crucial goals at this level.

As England discovered, Ukraine possess their fair share of defensive strength with the Eastern European nation’s backline failing to concede a goal in any of their last seven fixtures.

Their cause has been aided by the efforts of former Bayern Munich man Anatoly Tymoschuk but while odds of 7/1 on this game resulting in a 0-0 appear tempting, the attacking force of Les Bleus could prove too much.

In truth, Didier Deschamps’ side were always likely to face the play-offs after being dealt the toughest of hands by FIFA when they were drawn with World Cup holders Spain in the qualification groups.

But, to their credit, France put up a valiant effort against their European neighbours, drawing 1-1 in Madrid before a narrow home loss saw La Roja pip them to top spot.

The first of those games was a particular highlight with two of France’s biggest talents in Ballon d’Or favourite Franck Ribery and Giroud combining for a warranted equaliser.

It provided the perfect showcase for the 26-year-old’s ability and marked a significant improvement on their limp showing in the 2-0 quarter final loss to Spain at Euro 2012.

That tournament will provide some encouragement for France when facing Ukraine away though, having previously secured a comfortable 2-0 group victory against the hosts last summer, with odds of 10/1 offered on a repeat result.

And with Giroud ready and raring to go, 6/1 on the Premier League star opening the scoring looks a tempting prospect.

Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, meanwhile, can be backed at the same 6/1 price but given his lack of goals in recent big games for the national side, it may prove wiser to back Franck Ribery to open the scoring at 7/1.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.