Olivier Giroud inspires France to victory

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With the undisputed favourites for next year's European Championships, Germany, stuttering over the past week with a loss against the Republic of Ireland and an unconvincing 2-1 victory against minnows Gibraltar last night, the favourites tag may have to be reconsidered. 

Why not nine-wins-out-of-nine England? Why not Gareth Bale's Wales? Why not long-time underachievers France? 

I have previously written about Les Bleus' strength in depth, their fine youth prospects and the world-class talents in their ranks, but over recent matches they are showing that they are once again ready to be real competitors for an international tournament for the first time since the retirement of national hero Zinedine Zidane in 2006.


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Last night's victory in Copenhagen was their fourth consecutive win and the French seem to be going from strength-to-strength. They rotated again as Didier Deschamps was given the opportunity to look at players looking to sneak into the 23 man squad for next summer's European Championships. 

Anthony Martial was given his first start for the national side on the left-hand side of a three-pronged attack which included Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann. The young Manchester United forward again showed great confidence and composure at the highest level as he now looks to have nailed down a place in the senior squad. 

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Class of Giroud 

It was stand-in striker Olivier Giroud who grabbed the headlines, however, as he scored two goals within the first six minutes of the match to remind his coach of his undoubted talent amidst a run of poor form for club and country. 

The Arsenal striker seems to have fallen behind Theo Walcott in the pecking order for the Gunners and has played second fiddle to Karim Benzema for a number of years for his country, but he took advantage of the Madrid man's injury and put in a match-winning performance which will have made both Didier Deschamps and Arsene Wenger very happy indeed.

France look strong and are an increasingly cohesive unit. Their team has a fine balance between defensive solidity and attacking flair, with a vast array of options from the bench. At this stage smart money would be on them to win the Euros, their home fans will certainly be very expectant.

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