Giroud joy as France drought ends

France striker Olivier Giroud was unable to find the net during his World Cup triumph but he stepped up to sink Netherlands.

France striker Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring a goal.   -  Getty Images

Olivier Giroud cut a delighted figure after his second-half strike secured a 2-1 Nations League victory for France over The Netherlands in Paris.

Les Bleus were making their competitive homecoming after winning the 2018 World Cup and dazzled early on, with the irrepressible Kylian Mbappe netting a 14th-minute opener.

But Didier Deschamps' men allowed the game to drift and Ryan Babel equalised for the visitors midway through the second half.

It fell to Giroud to find the winner, having not scored over the course of seven appearances in Russia, as he volleyed home Benjamin Mendy's 74th-minute cross.

"I am full of joy," the Chelsea striker told RTL after a 32nd international goal put him fourth on France's all-time list.

Read: Giroud ends drought to sink Dutch

"To be so supported by a crowd like that... it makes us want to fight right until the end.

"It was not easy. It's always difficult to come back as world champions, but we wanted to win our first after the World Cup at home. 

"We have claimed this good point in Germany [Thursday's 0-0 draw in Munich]. We showed determination all the time until the end and that's good. We were rewarded."

Mendy's assist came after Netherlands seized upon slack defending from the Manchester City left-back to grab an equaliser.

But Giroud was happy to see a response that displayed the second-half substitute's attacking prowess.

"I know Benjamin Mendy's ability to centre hard at the very far post and I went deep," he added.

"Good for me, so much the better for the team. I am very happy for all of us."

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