France end Iceland’s fairytale run at Euro

Monday, 2016-07-04 11:35:25
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Olivier Giroud contributes two goals to France’s 5-2 win over Iceland. (Photo: Reuters)
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NOD – France ensured the 90 minute match played at Stade de France stadium on July 4 was a nightmare for ‘under-dogs’ Iceland as their efficient attackers scored five times to seal a 5-2 victory and a semifinal ticket for the home side. 

Despite having surprisingly eased past powerhouses England into the quarter-finals, Iceland could not replicate the impressive performance against France falling behind by four goals in the first 45 minutes of the match.

It took just 12 minutes for France to make the breakthrough. Giroud raced onto Blaise Matuidi's pass over the defence and made an accurate shot on goal through Halldorsson’s legs.

The early opener boosted the French players’ confidence, inspiring them to extend their advantage to 4-0, with Pogba’s second on the 20 minute mark, Payet’s third in the 43rd minute and Griezmann’s fourth seconds before the break.

Sigthorsson, who netted Iceland’s winner against England, pulled a goal back for Iceland in the 56th minute, only to see Giroud restore the four-goal deficit two minutes later. A simple lofted free kick from Payet allowed Giroud to dart in front of Halldorsson and guide the ball with his head into the unguarded net.

Despite the foreseen loss, Iceland still continued to play persistently during the remainder of the game, and their perseverence paid off with a second goal when Bjarnason headed in Ari Skulason’s cross in the 84th minute.

The commanding victory has fired France on to a semifinal clash with defending world champion Germany, who scored a hard-fought 6-5 win against Italy after a penalty shootout on July 3.

Earlier on July 2, Wales finished off Belgium 3-1 to set up the remaining semifinal match with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.

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