Football

Olivier Giroud claims he deserves start ahead of Karim Benzema

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France striker Olivier Giroud has made it very clear that he feels strong form in Les Blues warm-up matches means he should start Sunday's World Cup opener against Honduras in Porto Alegre, at the expense of Karim Benzema.

Giroud has bagged three goals in as many friendlies for France over the last fortnight, including a brilliant brace against Norway, taking advantage of Benzema easing his way towards the tournament after helping Madrid lift the Champions League.

Benzema has enjoyed a tremendous club campaign which has clearly caught the eye of Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, who continues to be linked with a £25m move for the Madrid marksman, but Giroud is not fazed and believes he is on course to shine at the World Cup regardless.

When asked if he should lead the line this weekend at a pre-match press conference Giroud told FIFA.com:  "Yes, of course. "I am happy with how I played in the warm-up games.

I feel on form and very positive. I hope to get a lot of playing time."

Despite Giroud's ambition France coach Didier Deschamps is expected to go with Benzema in a lone front position against Honduras, with Antoine Griezmann and Mathieu Valbuena in support.

Analysing both men's club form makes the decision look very difficult for Deschamps, with Giroud's 16 Premier League goals comparing very favourably with 17 bagged by Benzema in La Liga.

In terms of providing a focal point for midfield runners Giroud has strengths his strike colleague can't match, but Benzema is in terrific form and has completely shaken off a terrible run of form at international level which definitely affected his confidence around 18 months ago.

Last week's 8-0 romp over Jamaica did little to help Deschamps make that choice either, with Giroud both starting and registering three goals between them.

Deschamps could yet go with the pair and move Benzema out wide, giving France fans and indeed Wenger plenty of food for thought as he casts a close eye over potential partners for Giroud at this summer's South American showpiece.

Arsenal's French duo Giroud and Laurent Koscienly actually missed training at the Santa Cruz stadium earlier today as a precaution to rest slight knocks, but both are still widely expected to fit for selection on Sunday as France bid to banish painful memories of their controversial efforts in South Africa four years ago.

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Arsenal
Football
Premier League
Real Madrid

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