Olivier Giroud praises Australia’s determination as he equals goalscoring record

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DOHA: French striker Olivier Giroud said that despite a squad littered with superstars, they were well aware of the threat Australia posed – but praised the Socceroos’ determination, as well as his team’s ability to lift after a trying first half an hour.

Giroud scored twice in the 4-1 win, which for the first half an hour was in Australia’s hands, only to slip through in disastrous fashion.

The AC Milan forward, who swapped jerseys with Jackson Irvine after the game, was asked by Wide World of Sports about how much they were pushed by Australia in the opening exchanges, and agreed that they had to find another gear.

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“First, we are really sad for Lucas – because he got injured badly on the goal, but the ball after was deflected and the winger (Craig Goodwin) followed well and scored a nice goal,” he told reporters.

“We shouldn’t have been surprised by this start – we were aware about the determination of Australia’s players, they played well at the beginning, but most importantly, we just reacted straight away.”

After Goodwin’s well-taken finish and Adrien Rabiot’s equaliser, it was Giroud’s tap in that put the French ahead – and they never looked back.

“It was massively important to win this first game, we started the game in not the best way but we’ve shown great team character, and we bounced back straight away and that was very important,” he said.

Giroud’s second goal made it 51 for his country, equalling the all-time record for Les Bleus, set by Thierry Henry.

“Personally, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be next to Thierry Henry now,” he said.

“I just try to bring what I can do to the team and when I get the opportunity I always try to put it in the back of the net – and this time I couldn’t miss, because I received great balls.”

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