Date: July 3, 2016
Result: France 5 Iceland 2
France: Giroud 12, 58, Pogba 19, Payet 42, Griezmann 45
Iceland: Sigthorsson 56, B Bjarnason 84
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Hosts France will play Germany in the semi-final in Marseille on Thursday after they tore Iceland apart at Stade de France, winning 5-2 with their most assured performance of the tournament so far.
Goals from Olivier Giroud (two), Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann gave France a comfortable victory and displayed the breadth of their attacking options.
Although Iceland scored twice in the second half, the result was never in doubt. This was a polished, confident display from the hosts who took a tired Iceland apart with some accomplished team moves.
For Iceland, their adventure was over but they left the tournament having won many new admirers and demonstrated the value of team spirit and collective endeavour.
Iceland, as expected, were set up in a compact, well-organised 4-4-2 but the dangers of playing a high defensive line were exposed early on when Blaise Matuidi played a simple ball over the top of the Icelandic defence which Giroud reached with a well-timed run and then flashed his shot through the legs of Iceland keeper Hannes Hallgrimsson for the opening goal.
It was the first time that France had scored in the first half during the tournament, and another goal followed shortly afterwards. Pogba rose above Kari Arnason to head Griezmann’s corner into the far corner. So far, so easy for France, although debutant Samuel Umtiti had to be alert when Arnason almost got on the end of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s knock-on from a long throw.
Payet added a third, a low left-foot shot from the edge of the area from a Griezmann lay-off after Giroud had headed down Sagna’s cross.
The fourth goal arrived on the stroke of half-time, Griezmann running onto Giroud’s back-heeled lay-off and dinking a cheeky lob over Hallgrimsson.
Any hope that France would spare Iceland – and England – any further embarrassment in the second half ended when Giroud headed in Payet’s free-kick. By then, Iceland had pulled a goal back after Kolbeinn Sigthorsson turned Gylfi Sigursson’s cross past Hugo Lloris at the near post.
Iceland, willed on by their noisy fans, continue to pose a threat from set-pieces. Substitute Sverrir Ingason’s close-range header drew an excellent save from Lloris. And Birkir Bjarnason scored a second with a late header.
Griezmann’s goal, France’s fourth, tore Iceland apart. Samuel Umtiti’s ball from the back was from flicked on by Giroud to Griezmann, whose confident finish exemplified French superiority.
Man of the match:
Antoine Griezmann equalled Michel Platini’s French record of four goals at a Euro tournament, set in 1984. The Atletico Madrid youngster gave an assured, confident performance in the number 10 role.
Matter of fact:
France became the first team to score four goals in the first half of a European Championship match.
For the first time European Championship history all eight quarter-finalists scored in their respective games.
Iceland’s noisy fans sang throughout the second half and were rewarded with two goals from their side. Their intimidating thunderclap chant was adopted by the French crowd at Stade de France, but without the same intensity.
Attempts on target
01 Hugo Lloris
03 Patrice Evra
07 Antoine Griezmann
08 Dimitri Payet (20 Kingsley Coman 80)
09 Olivier Groud (10 Andre-Pierre Gignac 60)
14 Blaise Matuidi
15 Paul Pogba
18 Moussa Sissoko
19 Bacary Sagna
21 Laurent Koscielny (13 Eliaquim Mangala 71)
22 Samuel Umtiti
Starting formation: 4-2-3-1
Lloris – Sagna, Umtiti, Koscielny, Evra – Matuidi, Pogba – Sissoko, Griezmann, Payet – Giroud
01 Hannes Halldorsson
02 Birkir Saevarsson
06 Ragnar Sigurdsson
07 Johann Gudmundsson
08 Birkir Bjarnason
09 Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (22 Eidur Gudjohnsen 83)
10 Gylfi Sigurdsson
14 Kari Arnason (05 Sverrir Ingason 46)
15 Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (11 Alfred Finnbogason 46)
17 Aron Gunnarsson
23 Ari Skulason
Starting formation: 4-4-2
Halldorsson – Saevarsson, Arnason, R Sigurdsson, Skulason – Gudmundsson, Gunnarsson, G Sigurdsson, Bjarnason – Sigthorsson, Bodvarsson
France: Umtiti 75
Iceland: Bjarnason 58
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Hol)