France Iceland Euro 2016 quarter-final report


Les Bleus were facing the tournament’s surprise package who were brimming with confidence following the shock 2-1 win over England in the previous round, yet Didier Deschamps’ side never looked like suffering the same fate as they looked the part from the start, needing just 12 minutes to open the scoring: Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud latched onto a perfectly-weighted through-ball to finish off expertly from a tight angle.

Seven minutes later and it was two, Juventus sensation Paul Pogba rising highest from a corner to double his side’s lead.

The game went through a lull thereafter as France sat comfortably in front, yet changed gear in the last five minutes of the first half with two more quick-fire goals: Giroud’s cushioned header in the box fell to Antoine Griezmann who laid it off for West Ham star Dimitri Payet to drill home into the bottom corner for his third of the competition.

On the stroke of half-time, Griezmann went from provider to scorer as he was played through on goal by Giroud before neatly chipping the onrushing goalkeeper to make it 4-0, propelling himself to the top of the Euro goalscoring charts with four strikes.

Iceland game themselves a glimmer of hope with a goal early in the second half, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson stretching to get on the end of a delightful Gylfi Sigurdsson cross to make it 4-1.

Yet the French restored their four-goal cushion minutes later as Giroud out-jumped the Icelandic defence to head home a free-kick to complete his brace.

With the game all but dead and buried, the hosts took their foot off the gas as they sought to see out the game, yet would concede once more to the delight of the Iceland fans as Birkir Bjarnasson headed home late on to restore some pride.

That would be last of the goals however, as Iceland bow out following a 5-2 defeat to the French, who next face Germany in the semi-finals on Thursday, a day after Portugal’s date with Wales in the competition’s first Last four showdown.

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