June 02, 2017

RENNES, France (AP) Striker Olivier Giroud led the way with a hat trick as France crushed Paraguay 5-0 in a friendly match on Friday.

Midfielder Moussa Sissoko and forward Antoine Griezmann completed the scoring to give France a morale-boosting win ahead of next Friday's 2018 World Cup qualifier away to Sweden.

One year ago, Giroud was jeered by his own home fans prior to the European Championship. But he is now firmly first choice and took his internationally tally to 26 goals in 62 games.

The Arsenal center forward struck a neat volley at the back post from Ousmane Dembele's right-wing cross and then met Dimitri Payet's cross from the left with a low diving header to make it 2-0 after just 13 minutes.

Giroud completed his first international hat-trick - and the first by a France player since David Trezeguet in 2000 - when he turned in left back Lucas Digne's cross midway through the second half.

Giroud was given a rousing ovation by the Brittany crowd in Rennes when he came off in the 73rd minute, and his replacement Alexandre Lacazette set up Sissoko with a first-time cross from the right after breaking the offside trap in the 76th.

Just a minute later, Griezmann thumped home following a mix-up in defense for his 16th international goal.

Setting a French record for goalkeepers with his 88th cap, Hugo Lloris had little to do.

''Everything came together for us,'' France coach Didier Deschamps said. ''We played with a lot of intensity and speed, even though it's the end of the season.''

After facing Sweden in Stockholm, the French have a friendly against England at Stade de France four days later.

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