Football

Olivier Giroud eyeing Thierry Henry's 51-goal record for France

Chelsea striker is now France's second-highest goalscorer, behind Henry

Having become France's second-highest goalscorer of all time yesterday morning (Singapore time) by leapfrogging Michel Platini's tally of 42 goals, Olivier Giroud is now gunning for Thierry Henry's record of 51.

Giroud netted twice in a 7-1 demolition of Ukraine in a friendly at the Stade de France, celebrating his 100th cap in style in front of the visitors' coach Andriy Shevchenko, one of his idols.

"I feel a lot of pride, it's a great honour for me and I'm happy it happened for my 100th cap," Giroud told French TV channel TF1.

"I'm happy I did it in front of Shevchenko, he was one of my favourite players, if not my favourite player when I was a teenager," the Chelsea forward said of the former AC Milan and Ukraine striker, winner of the Ballon d'Or in 2004.

Giroud said he would now take it step by step to improve his goal tally, although he hinted he was targeting Henry's record, which he set in 123 international appearances.

Asked whether he was going for the 51-goal mark, he said: "There's no limit.

"You have to set yourself goals. Let's see when I reach 46, 47 goals."

His coach Didier Deschamps said he was very satisfied with Les Bleus' performance ahead of their Nations League clash with Portugal on Monday morning.

He said: "It's not the best team in Ukraine but you have to score those goals.

"I am very satisfied even though we had a somewhat difficult second-half recovery. We will continue while awaiting the game on Sunday night."

COVID-19 GOALKEEPERS

Ukraine started the match with the uncapped Georgiy Bushchan in goal after three of their goalkeepers returned Covid-19 positive test results, prompting Shevchenko to name his 45-year-old assistant coach Oleksandr Shovkovskiy the back-up custodian.

Six players, all from Shakhtar Donetsk, also had to drop out from the squad after their clubmates tested positive for the coronavirus.

While 34-year-old Giroud grabbed the headlines after his brace, it was 17-year-old Eduardo Camavinga who scored the game's best goal, with an audacious overhead flick in the ninth minute to open the scoring.

Kylian Mbappe, Corentin Tolisso and Antoine Griezmann also scored for France, with Vitaliy Mykolenko scoring an own goal. Viktor Tsyhankov scored Ukraine's consolation goal. - AFP, REUTERS

Football