France 5 – 2 Iceland, Goals Euro 2016
France set-up a semi-final clash against Germany by beating fan favourites Iceland 5-2 at the Stade de France.
The hosts were well worth their victory having raced into a 4-0 lead at half-time via goals from Olivier Giroud, Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann.
Although Iceland managed to net twice in the second period – Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Birkir Bjarnason with the goals – Giroud grabbed his second of the night to secure the most emphatic result of the tournament.
Iceland managed some early chances, Sigurdsson firing straight at Lloris and Bodvarsson going down under pressure from Umtiti, with calls for a penalty which was not given.
However, Halldorsson had to produce a fine claim to prevent Griezmann tapping Sissoko’s cross into an empty net, and the hosts finally broke through after ramping up the pressure.
Matuidi sent a perfectly weighted ball through the heart of the Iceland defence, and Giroud – who was slightly offside – ran onto the pass before sending a first-time finish past Halldorsson into the far corner of the net.
The goal settled French nerves, and seven minutes later Pogba netted his first goal of the tournament, converting Griezmann’s corner with a thumping header.
Iceland were sitting remarkably deep, and failing to show any of the composure they had in the victory over England in the Round of 16.
Chances were few and far between, but Bodvarsson should have pulled one back when Gudmundsson’s throw was sent into the area and flicked on by Sigthorsson; however, the 24-year-old could only lob the loose ball over the bar.
France had no trouble dominating the ball, pushing towards goal when they pleased with no fear of being counter-attacked by an Iceland side who were looking tired after just half-an-hour of play.
Matuidi volleyed wide from Payet’s cross, before the West Ham star grabbed the third of the night, sending a low left-footed finish into the far corner from the edge of the area.
With the half-time whistle just moments away, Iceland would have been pleased for the break, but before they could leave the field, Griezmann broke through on goal and chipped Halldorsson to extend the lead to 4-0.
The second half started with France still on top, Griezmann and Payet fluffing chances from the edge of the box, and Pogba sending a low piledriver wide of the post.
Iceland did manage a chance – just their second of the game – as the ball broke to Bjarnason on the edge of the D. However, his first time strike ballooned off his foot and flew high and wide of Lloris’ goal.
Despite the miss, Iceland seemed to gain confidence from a rare attack, and Sigthorsson pulled a goal back, tapping home Sigurdsson’s right wing cross at the near post.
Few suggested the comeback was on, and they were proven right minutes later, as Giroud headed home Payet’s cross to register his third goal of the tournament.
Sigurdsson then fired over from inside the box as Iceland got at Les Bleus’ defence, and Lloris pulled off a magnificent save to deny Ingason’s powerful close-range header.
The game had reached something of a lull, with the result decided so early on, but Iceland refused to feel sorry for themselves and continued to attack.
Sigurdsson had a shot deflected wide, and with six minutes left Bjarnason headed past Lloris to grab a second consolation goal for the brave Iceland side, who bow out of Euro 2016 having earned a number of plaudits following displays of spirit, hard work, and tactical excellence.