Giroud on the spot in France comeback win over Ivory Coast

Olivier Giroud, who had not been called up since France was knocked out in the last 16 of the Euros last year, bagged the equaliser as the Les Blues beat Ivory Coast 2-1 in a friendly game.

Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud, having struck his 47th international goal, is now only four goals shy of Thierry Henry's France all-time scoring record.   -  Reuters

Olivier Giroud defied the doubters again as he marked his France comeback by scoring his 47th international goal when the world champion beat Ivory Coast 2-1 in a friendly on Friday.

Giroud, who had not been called up since his country was knocked out in the last 16 of the European Championship last year, cancelled out Nicolas Pepe's opener to move four goals shy of Thierry Henry's France all-time scoring record before Aurelie Tchouameni wrapped up the win in stoppage time.

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The AC Milan forward, who rarely disappointed coach Didier Deschamps despite limited playing time when he was at Chelsea, was included in the squad following Karim Benzema's injury.

He started alongside Christopher Nkunku as Kylian Mbappe sat on the bench after suffering from an ear, nose and throat infection earlier this week.

France next takes on South Africa in Lille on Tuesday as it continues the build-up to this year's World Cup in Qatar.

"We had less stamina after the break but we were rarely in danger. We're a bit lucky to score that second goal but that's the name of the game," said Deschamps.

"This match will help us improve ahead of the summer, and most importantly for what's coming up late this year," he added.

France got off to a shaky start but once the side found its groove, it threatened more than its opponents as Paul Pogba and Tchouameni bossed the midfield at a packed Stade Velodrome.

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Pepe burst into the area and fired a low cross-shot from the near post that beat goalkeeper Hugo Lloris after 19 minutes as the French defence was caught napping.

It took France three minutes to react with Giroud heading home from his club mate Theo Hernandez for the equaliser. Les Bleus continued to push and Nkunku came close in the opening half but his header went just too high.

The side was, however, rewarded three minutes into added time when Tchouameni headed his first goal from eight appearances off Matteo Guendouzi's corner.

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