International

Internationals: Landmark Giroud goal in France warm-up win

France got their World Cup preparations underway with a comfortable victory over Ireland, having been set on their way by Olivier Giroud's 31st goal for his country.

Our striker started the game in Paris and poked home from close range after his initial, powerful header had been kept out by Ireland's Colin Doyle. It took him level with Zinedine Zidane in France's all-time scoring charts, and now only behind David Trezeguet, Michel Platini and Thierry Henry.

That goal arrived five minutes before the interval and Les Bleus doubled their advantage before the switch of ends courtesy of Nabil Fekir.

That completed the scoring. N'Golo Kante was an unused sub on this occasion for the star-studded French side, who are managed by Didier Deschamps, a former midfielder of ours.

In St Gallen, the Swiss city with bad memories for Chelsea fans after our UEFA Cup exit there in 2000 when Roberto Di Matteo suffered a career-ending injury, an Italy team containing Davide Zappacosta for the full 90 beat Saudi Arabia 2-1.

The Azzurri, managed by Roberto Mancini for the first time, scored through Mario Balotelli and Andrea Belotti. The Saudis, participants in the World Cup's opening game against hosts Russia, got one back, but it was the bigger team not at this summer's showpiece who prevailed.

France meet Italy in a friendly on Friday.

In Africa, Nigeria drew 1-1 in a home friendly agianst Congo.

Victor Moses was not involved but Ola Aina and Kenneth Omeruo came off the bench for the Super Eagles, who are in a tough group at the World Cup alongside Argentina, Croatia and Iceland.

William Troost-Ekong gave Nigeria the lead but a penalty harshly awarded against Aina late on levelled the scores up in Port Harcourt. Nigeria play England at Wembley on Saturday. 

Matt Miazga was an unused sub for USA who defeated Bolivia 3-0 in a friendly in Philadelphia. Timothy Weah, son of our former striker George, was among the American scorers. 
 

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