Giroud nets winner for France

Giroud nets winner for France

DROUGHT ENDS! France's Olivier Giroud (left) celebrates with Kylian Mbappe and Benjamin Mendy after scoring the equaliser against Netherlands. Reuters

France finally celebrated winning the World Cup with their home fans on Sunday after Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud both scored in a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in Paris.

Giroud swept in the winner from a Benjamin Mendy cross in the 75th minute for his first goal in 11 games in a France shirt, after the Chelsea striker went through the entirety of his country's triumphant campaign in Russia without scoring.

On their first appearance on home soil since the World Cup, Mbappe had earlier put France ahead in an explosive performance from the 19-year-old, before Ryan Babel briefly restored parity in the second half.

However, this match on a balmy evening was really just a prelude to World Cup victory celebrations on the pitch in front of almost 80,000 fans at the national stadium after the final whistle.

The French team and their supporters saw this occasion as the opportunity to make up for the lack of a memorable public celebration in the immediate aftermath of the World Cup triumph in Russia.

The day after beating Croatia 4-2 in the final, Les Bleus paraded hurriedly down the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris en route to a reception hosted by President Emmanuel Macron.

The rushed nature of those celebrations disappointed the estimated 300,000 fans who took to the streets, and so this time the victorious squad were presented one by one to supporters after the final whistle.

The World Cup trophy was shown off as well, and the squad undertook a lap of honour, singing with supporters, at the stadium where France first won it in 1998.

The teams were greeted by an enormous banner that read 'world champions' and covered the pitch, before a spine-tingling version of the French national anthem.

Mbappe forced a good save from Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen inside 50 seconds, and his performance here showed why he is tipped as a future Ballon d'Or winner.

He got the breakthrough in the 14th minute as he turned in a ball driven across the box by Blaise Matuidi for his eighth international goal in 2018.

But the Dutch were level in the 67th minute, Kenny Tete delivering a cross from the right for Babel -- unmissable with his hair dyed red - to convert.

Giroud got the winner though, his 32nd for his country seeing him move one clear of Zinedine Zidane's tally for France.

Eriksen stars 

Christian Eriksen scored twice in a 2-0 victory over Wales on Sunday as Denmark's first-team players returned after boycotting a midweek friendly over a contract dispute.

The Tottenham midfielder put the Danes ahead with just over half an hour gone in Aarhus. Eriksen then added a second on 63 minutes from the penalty spot after Ethan Ampadu handled.

Results: League A: Group 1: France 2 (Mbappe 14, Giroud 75) bt Netherlands 1 (Babel 67)

League B: Group I: Ukraine 1 (Yarmolenko 80-pen) bt Slovakia 0

Group 4: Denmark 2 (Eriksen 32, 63-pen) bt Wales 0

League C: Group 3: Bulgaria 1 (Vasilev 58) bt Norway 0; Cyprus 2 (Sotiriou 69, Stojanovic 89-og) bt Slovenia 1 (Beric 54)

League D: Group 1: Georgia 1 (Okriashvili 77-pen) bt Latvia 0

Group 4: Macedonia 2 (Alioski 14-pen, Pandev 59) bt Armenia 0

Liechtenstein 2 (Salanovic 32, Wieser 72) bt Gibraltar 0

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