Football

Olivier Giroud must start for France

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France play their last-16 match against Nigeria later today as they bid to reach the quarter-finals for only the second time in the last four World Cups.

Didier Deschamps' side qualified for the second round after topping Group E with seven points from their three games. They scored eight goals in that period - the third highest in the tournament, looking particularly impressive in the 5-2 win over Switzerland.

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That game was the only one in which Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud started. He scored the first goal in the match, before setting up Mathieu Valbuena for his strike. The 27-year-old was on the bench for his country's opening game win over Honduras, and also the 0-0 draw with Ecuador.

Hold-up play

Both times, however, France looked much more of a complete side when Giroud had came on as a substitute. One skill the forward gives to the France side over any other player is the ability to hold the ball up.

Like he does for the Gunners in the Premier League, Giroud loves to come short and get the ball to feet. He is very accomplished at bringing others in to play, and that is great for the French, as he can allow players such as Valbuena, Yohan Cabaye and Paul Pogba to get involved.

Griezmann battle

His competition for the place as the third man in attack is Real Sociedad's Antoine Griezmann. The 23-year-old had a very good season in La Liga, scoring 16 goals, but has struggled to impress in the games he has started in Brazil. 

As well as his hold up play, Giroud is also a real threat in the air. His goal against the Swiss was a header from a corner, while he should have had at least one against Ecuador, as well.

Obvious choice

The two players have had a similar amount of game time, but Giroud has not only looked more of a threat, he also makes those around him more of a threat, and so, should start against Nigeria.

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Topics:
World Cup
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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