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Olivier Giroud to fire France to Euro 2016 victory over Portugal
Hosts France will face-off against Portugal in Sunday’s Euro 2016 final at the Stade de France after beating World Champions Germany 2-0 on Thursday night.
The Germans had the lion’s share of possession but couldn’t find a way through a resolute French defence being marshalled by Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny – who has been outstanding all tournament.
The hosts made Joachim Low’s side pay as Atletico Madrid attacker Antoine Griezmann stole the headlines after scoring two goals to book France’s place in the final where they’ll look to complete a hat-trick of tournament victories on home soil.
France go in to the game as the heavy favourites as Portugal have been fairly ordinary throughout the competition. They qualified for the knockout stages after finishing third in their group without winning a single game, needed a late extra-time winner to see off Croatia before needing penalties to beat Poland.
They also looked very beatable against the Welsh in the semi-final on Wednesday night and needed some magic from Cristiano Ronaldo to help secure a 2-0 win. I strongly beleive the result could have been very different had Aaron Ramsey not been suspended.
The French on the other hand have been impressive throughout Euro 2016 and unlike Portugal, who rely heavy on Ronaldo, the hosts have a number of top class players who will influence the game.
Paul Pogba will be looking to dominate Bayern Munich youngster Renato Sanchez in midfield while West Ham’s Dimitri Payet can win a match on his own with his stunning set-pieces.
However, Griezmann is the main man right now and rightly so as he’s been outstanding, and no doubt the Portuguese defence will be paying him close attention on Sunday, but I think this will work the Giroud’s advantage.
The often-criticised Arsenal striker has played a vital role in France’s success so far at Euro 2016. Not only has he chipped in with three important goals but the work he does for his team mates has been equally important.
Giroud may lack pace but he leads the line well and is a real handful for defenders, and I think he’ll relish the physical battle against the Portuguese back four on Sunday. With the players likely to focus on stopping Griezmann, I think Giroud could be the man to fire France to the trophy.
A quick look at the betting odds for the Euro 2016 Final at William Hill shows us that France are the even-money favourites to win inside the ninety minutes, which is a solid bet.
However, I really fancy Giroud to be the difference this weekend so I’ll be backing the Arsenal man to score with France to win either 2-0, 2-1 or 3-1 at odds of 5/1. I think that’s an excellent bet.
Whatever happens on Sunday let’s hope the Arsenal boys can help France win the trophy as they deserve it. I’d hate to see a side that finished third in their group go on and win the tournament.