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