Olivier Giroud pushed his claims for a starting role at the FIFA World Cup™ next month by bagging a brace as France routed Norway 4-0 in Paris. The Arsenal striker, who is in direct contention for a forward role with Queens Park Rangers frontman Loic Remy and Real Madrid attacker Karim Benzema, scored twice in the second half as Les Bleus made the ideal start to their preparations for Brazil at the Stade de France.
Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba scored the opener, while Remy also netted with a smart finish to leave coach Didier Deschamps with plenty of food for thought. France were nearly ahead inside the opening couple of minutes, with Norway goalkeeper Orjan Nyland tipping over from Antoine Griezmann before pushing Mamadou Sakho's powerful header onto the crossbar.
They did take the lead in the 15th minute, however, as Mathieu Valbuena's left-wing cross was headed into the far corner by an unmarked Pogba, who swivelled to get direction on the ball. Norway threatened as Havard Nordtveit's 30-yard free-kick narrowly missed the target, but chances were few and far between for the visitors.
Any hope they had of getting back into the match was undone when Giroud collected the ball from Valbuena on the edge of the area before superbly firing into the top corner in the 51st minute. It was 3-0 after 67 minutes as Remy ran onto Mathieu Debuchy's long through ball and calmly slotted home. Giroud then added a flourish to proceedings two minutes later as he headed over Nyland at the near post and into the far corner from a left-wing cross.