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France's elite strike force leading the way

With France's campaign for EURO glory in full flow, there is a battle developing in their ranks as Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Dimitri Payet lead the adidas Golden Boot standings.

France's elite strike force leading the way
France's elite strike force leading the way ©AFP/Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann – 4 goals, 2 assists, 345 minutes
"If he keeps his position as top scorer in the tournament then it will be a good sign for us," said Didier Deschamps after Griezmann's delightful goal against Iceland took him to the head of the UEFA EURO 2016 scoring chart. The Atlético ace also contributed two assists and is getting stronger by the game, revelling in his best position as a 9½.

At the start of quarter-final week, Griezmann told me the leading scorer prize wasn't an ambition. It has to be now, though don't expect him or his fellow attackers to get greedy all of a sudden. The trio complement and compliment each other. Griezmann kissed Dimitri Payet's boot when the latter struck France's third, and Payet returned the favour after Griezmann's dink.

"I needed to look after him in the group stage," said Deschamps, referring to the 25-year-old's marathon club season. "Now he's no longer tired and he's very effective. He's doing great things and we'll need him against Germany."

Giroud still sees room for improvement from France
Giroud still sees room for improvement from France

Olivier Giroud – 3 goals, 2 assists, 300 minutes
Man of the match Giroud has ten goals in his last nine internationals. Two contrasting efforts at Saint-Denis on Sunday showed the undervalued range to the centre-forward's play.

The 29-year-old is not noted for running in behind defences, yet that's exactly what he did for his first, providing a confident left-footed finish to Blaise Matuidi's ball over the top. The second was more typical of Giroud as he got his head to a Payet free-kick. A hat-trick might have followed, but Deschamps substituted him as a booking would have sidelined him for the semi-final.

Counting against him in the race for the Golden Boot is the altruistic nature of his game – and the number of chances he creates for Griezmann in particular.

Pogba looks ahead to Germany showdown
Pogba looks ahead to Germany showdown

Dimitri Payet – 3 goals, 2 assists, 377 minutes
All of Payet's goals have one thing in common: they have all found the corner of the net. Two of them, including his precise strike against Iceland, have come from his left foot, one with his right. Surely we are due a free-kick special from the 29-year-old before the tournament ends?

The most important thing for France, though, is that the trio continue to work in harmony. Listen to Payet and it all sounds too easy: "With 'Grizou' [Griezmann] I have a good understanding. He set me up for my goal and it's easy to play alongside someone of his quality. We manage to find each other on the field and we don't step on each other's toes."