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 By PA Sport

Didier Deschamps: Olivier Giroud is France's main goal scorer

Didier Deschamps is happy to put his faith in Olivier Giroud as France's primary goal scorer.

The powerful striker has been a bit-part player for much of the past two seasons at Arsenal, but scored 16 goals last term and 24 in 2015-16, despite often being used from the bench.

Giroud scored a hat trick in France's 5-0 win over Paraguay on Friday and Deschamps told L'Equipe: "At Arsenal he is not playing as much. When you look at his effectiveness compared to his playing time, he is very, very good.

"With us, he is our goal scorer. Olivier knows what he is capable of and he knows I have confidence in him."

France and Sweden go into their World Cup qualifier on Friday in the top two positions in Group A, and both having scored 10 goals in their five qualifiers to date.

Les Bleus can surround target man Giroud with the diverse threats of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Alexandre Lacazette, and Deschamps is delighted with the options at his disposal.

"We have a lot of players with a lot of qualities, with different profiles," he said. "There is variety and interesting offensive potential.

Olivier Giroud celebrates after opening the scoring for France in a friendly win against Paraguay.
Olivier Giroud scored three times in France's win on Friday.

"If you call on [Mbappe], he is ready. He is a young player but that has not stopped him showing, in Ligue 1 and the Champions League, that he can perform and be decisive. He can do the same for us."

Monaco sensation Mbappe is the subject of offseason transfer speculation while Griezmann has long been linked with Manchester United before recently appearing to pledge his future to Atletico Madrid.

Deschamps has not discussed the issue with Griezmann and said: "No, he has made his decision and the subject is closed.

"It's good for him, he can be calm. [Rumours] can be unsettling."

France sit three points ahead of Sweden going into Friday's game but Deschamps insists the game in Solna will not be decisive in the race for qualification.

"[It is] not a final," he said. "There are still matches to come. It is important, even more so for Sweden, but it will not be decisive. Taking three points would be ideal."


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