Olivier Giroud closes in on Thierry Henry's all-time scoring record for France

AC Milan forward registers 47th international goal in 2-1 friendly win over Ivory Coast

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Olivier Giroud moved within four goals of Thierry Henry's France all-time scoring record as he marked his return by netting his 47th international goal to help the world champions beat Ivory Coast 2-1 in a friendly on Friday.

Giroud, who had not been called up since his team were knocked out in the last 16 of the European Championship last year, cancelled out Nicolas Pepe's opener to close in on Henry's tally of 51 before Aurelie Tchouameni secured victory in stoppage time.

The AC Milan forward was included in the squad following Karim Benzema's injury.

"We had less stamina after the break but we were rarely in danger. We're a bit lucky to score that second goal but that's the name of the game," said manager Didier Deschamps.

"This match will help us improve ahead of the summer, and most importantly for what's coming up late this year."

"He [Giroud] still has this ability to score, especially with his head," Deschamps added. "Obviously he was happy about that. He is back in the squad, which he understands well. And so much the better for us."

With defending champions France already qualified for the World Cup, Deschamps gave debuts to Christopher Nkunku, who started, William Saliba, who came off the bench after an hour, and 29-year-old Jonathan Clauss, who came on for the last couple of minutes.

France got off to a shaky start but soon found their groove as Paul Pogba and Tchouameni dominated the midfield at a packed Stade Velodrome.

Pepe then burst into the area and fired a low cross-shot from the near post that beat goalkeeper Hugo Lloris after 19 minutes as the French defence was caught napping.

It took France three minutes to react with Giroud heading home from his club mate Theo Hernandez for the equaliser.

Les Bleus were rewarded three minutes into added time when Tchouameni headed his first goal from eight appearances off Matteo Guendouzi's corner.

France next take on South Africa in Lille on Tuesday as they continue the build-up to this year's World Cup in Qatar.

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Updated: March 26, 2022, 9:03 AM
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