Olivier Giroud sends emphatic message to critics ahead of France’s clash with Portugal

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Veteran striker Olivier Giroud insists he can still keep pace with his younger teammates ahead of France's vital Euro 2020 encounter with Portugal.

Giroud will turn 35 in September and he has had to settle for a minor role at the tournament so far.

The Chelsea frontman was an unused substitute in the 1-0 victory over Germany last Tuesday and came off the bench in the 1-1 draw with Hungary on Saturday.

While he was a vital cog in France's 2018 World Cup-winning side, Giroud has been displaced following Karim Benzema's recall to the national team set-up after a five-year absence.

Giroud had an amusing "grandpa" quip as he hit back at his critics

But the former Arsenal star insists he still has plenty to offer manager Didier Deschamps and rubbished recent speculation claiming he could retire from France duty at the end of the tournament.

Giroud told Parisian outlet Le Figaro : "I'm not finished, far from it. Count on me, grandpa is not dead! I'm almost 35 but have the hunger of a 20-year-old guy."

On the competition for minutes in the national team, he added: "The France team has a fairly incredible strike force, but I have a card to play because there are no other players with my profile.

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"I am here to respond and bring what I want. I know how to do it with the team. I have the desire and, if the young people want to move me, they will have to be ready too."

After their disappointing stalemate with Hungary, France return to action on Wednesday night against reigning European champions Portugal.

Les Bleus currently lead Group F but will almost certainly need to beat Portugal in order to finish top, as Germany are hot on their heels and host Hungary in their final fixture.

Does Olivier Giroud deserve to start for France against Portugal? Have your say in the comments.

The difference between finishing first or second in Group F is stark; the team which tops the group will face the third-place team in Group A, B or C, whereas the runners-up will face the winner of Group D.

England are favourites to win that group and will do so if they overcome Czech Republic on Tuesday night.

Deschamps, meanwhile, insisted his side still had "leeway" heading into their game with Portugal as he spoke after the draw with Hungary.

He said: "I am satisfied. I’m not overjoyed with the result, but I’m satisfied. We had a lot of shots, a couple on target, hit the post.

"We didn’t lose and we do have a point to add to the three we have in the bag already.

"I think this still leaves the door open for us to have a little bit of leeway for the third game."

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