France 5-2 Iceland
A first half rout saw France defeat Iceland tonight in the Stade de France to secure their place in the semi-finals of EURO 2016. Olivier Giroud put the host nation ahead with 12 minutes played before Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann all found the back of the net before half-time. Giroud scored a second soon after the restart but the Icelandic player can hold their heads high as Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Birkir Bjarnason both netted to keep the score respectable.
France’s supporters arrived in Paris looking for improvement from a side that had laboured against Romania, Albania, Switzerland and Republic of Ireland in their previous matches. France had not scored a first-half goal at EURO 2016 before this game, but became the first side in European Championships history to score four times before the break with Giroud’s 12th-minute opener proving the catalyst for a simply stunning display. The Arsenal striker remained just onside as he ran onto Blaise Matuidi’s brillaint through-ball, allowing it to bounce before lashing it through the legs of goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson.
The second came seven minutes later as Pogba rose majestically to power home Griezmann’s corner before Iceland almost snatched a goal back when Kolbeinn Sigthorsson flicked Aron Gunnarsson’s long throw into the path of Jon Dadi Bodvarsson who wastefully lifted it over the bar from close range.
Payet produced a fine third on 42 minutes. Pogba’s cross was nodded down by Giroud and the West Ham player collected Griezmann’s lay-off, dragged the ball away from his marker before drilling it into the bottom corner. And it was effectively over as a contest two minutes later as Giroud dummied Pogba’s long ball from defence allowing Griezmann – now leading the race for the EURO 2016 Golden Boot – to race through on goal flicking the ball over the onrushing Halldorsson.
Spirited Iceland continued their run of scoring in every game at EURO 2016 when Sigthorsson volleyed Gylfi Sigurdsson’s fine cross past Hugo Lloris 11 minutes after the interval, but Giroud scored France’s fifth two minutes later when he headed Payet’s free-kick past the charging Halldorsson. That would prove to be his last touch as he was replaced by Andre-Pierre Gignac as Iceland rallied and Lloris made a super point-blank save to deny substitute Sverrir Iingi Ingason’s header.
The France goalkeeper would be beaten a second time six minutes before the end when Bjarnason headed home Ari Freyr Skulason’s cross. It was the last big moment of Iceland’s EURO 2016 adventure and their players will leave Paris disappointed with this result, but secure of their place in their nation’s sporting history following famous wins over Austria and England.
France will now face Germany on Thursday night in the semi-final. Les Bleus remain on course to win EURO 2016 on home soil
Man of the Match – Olivier Giroud (France)
- Andre-Pierre Gignac replaces Olivier Giroud 60 mins
- Eliaquim Mangala replaces Laurent Koscielny 72 mins
- Kingsley Coman replaces Dimitri Payet 80 mins
- Alfred Finnbogason replaces Jon Dadi Boedvarsson 46 mins
- SverrirIngiIngason replaces Kari Arnason 46 mins
- Eidur Gudjohnsen replaces Kolbeinn Sigthorsson 83 mins
France – Samuel Umtiti.
Iceland – Birkir Bjarnason.