Olivier Giroud moved level with David Trezeguet in third among France's all-time top scorers with a goal in the 4-1 win over Moldova and coach Didier Deschamps feels criticism of the Chelsea forward is unjust.
Les Bleus cruised to a comprehensive victory over the side ranked 170th in the world in their first Euro 2020 qualifier, Antoine Griezmann, Raphael Varane, Giroud and Kylian Mbappe all scoring in Chisinau before Vladimir Ambros grabbed a consolation.
Giroud's goal, which was France's third in 12 first-half minutes, was his 34th for his country and his third since the World Cup last year, when he failed to register a shot on target in 546 minutes of action during his nation's run to glory in Russia.
Despite that drought, Deschamps has continued to persist with the 32-year-old and he praised a man who now trails only Michel Platini and Thierry Henry in terms of goals scored for France.
"The counter is increasing, it is there," he said.
"He is less used by his club but when he plays in the Europa League, he also scores.
Le podium des meilleurs buteurs de l’Équipe de France— Equipe de France (@equipedefrance) March 22, 2019
1- Thierry Henry 51
2- Michel Platini 41
3- Olivier Giroud 34
David Trezeguet 34@_OlivierGiroud_ #FiersdetreBleus @NzoGraphic pic.twitter.com/1urjyxgpVC
"His pivotal presence is very useful to the team. So much the better that he scored.
"This is an important figure [of 34 goals], which he continues. He comes back from a difficult time, he is an unfairly decried player.
"But his goals, it is necessary to put them at the high level and over the duration, it is not nothing.
"As long as I select him and he plays, he can get closer [to Platini's total]. I'm not here to help him.
"When he is on the field, he continues to score. He is always there with this desire and this freshness, he must keep that."
France were quiet in the opening 24 minutes until Griezmann kick-started a flurry of first-half goals, the Atletico Madrid forward emphatically volleying home after reaching a chipped pass from Paul Pogba.
Deschamps deployed a full-strength side in Moldova and insisted he had no concerns over his team underestimating their opponents.
"I was not worried – from the beginning of the week I told them what I had to tell them about this game," he said.
"Players know, but the more I have who release that, the more the band follows. It seems normal and logical but I appreciate the quality that we can have.
"It is thanks to this state of mind that we reached this level last summer. We must continue this way."
18 de abril 2019
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