Giroud fighting for starting spot again
PARIS, France (AP):
Despite helping France reach the European Championship final, striker Olivier Giroud finds himself once again fighting for his place in the national side.
His position has come under serious threat from Kevin Gameiro, and coach Didier Deschamps must choose between them to play alongside Antoine Griezmann in today's World Cup qualifier against Sweden.
Gameiro appears to be the favourite to start, but Giroud's physicality and heading ability could prove useful against a robust Sweden side level with France in Group A.
"Olivier and Kevin have different styles. Olivier is more of a link player, Kevin is more about speed and making runs," Deschamps said. "Both are very effective. I can use one at the start and one can come on during the match, depending on the opposition."
Giroud scored three goals at Euro 2016, forging a decent partnership with Griezmann, the competition's top scorer with six, but he has lost his place in the Arsenal side to Chile striker Alexis Sanchez, while Gameiro is thriving at club level alongside Griezmann at Atletico Madrid.
Although Giroud started France's first match in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, he missed two clear chances in a 0-0 draw at Belarus.
Gameiro replaced him in a 4-1 win at home against Bulgaria and a 1-0 win at the Netherlands. He scored twice against Bulgaria, with his second goal set up by Griezmann. Their partnership is progressing well at Atletico, where they have 13 goals between them this season.
However, Giroud also has found some form recently for Arsenal.
He came off the bench to score twice in quick succession in a 4-1 win at Sunderland and followed that up with a goal in the Champions League.