NEWS
Sunday July 3 2016
Five-Star France end Iceland dream

France end Iceland’s fairy-tale Euro 2016 with a 5-2 victory, including Olivier Giroud’s brace and Paul Pogba, setting up a semi-final with Germany.

Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante were suspended, so Samuel Umtiti was given his competitive France debut in central defence. Iceland were in their first ever major tournament and eliminated England in the last round to reach the quarter-finals against the host nation in Paris, using the same starting XI every time.

These sides had met twice before, both thrilling 3-2 Bleus victories. Gylfi Sigurdsson had the first shot on target smothered by Hugo Lloris within a couple of minutes, but France took the lead.

Giroud sprung the offside trap on a Blaise Matuidi pass and smashed the angled drive through the goalkeeper’s legs at the near post. Remarkably, that was the first goal from Didier Deschamps’ men in the first half during this tournament.

Juventus midfielder Pogba got his first goal of the competition, a towering header from Antoine Griezmann’s corner.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson almost made it 2-1, volleying over at full stretch when a throw-in was flicked on.

However, France looked comfortable and Dimitri Payet made it 3-0 before the break with a precise left-foot snooker shot from the edge of the box.

The offside trap failed again and Griezmann kept his cool for a delightful lob over the goalkeeper. No other side in Euros history had scored four goals in the first half.

Iceland did get one back after the restart, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson sliding in to meet a low Gylfi Sigurdsson cross at the near post.

The enthusiasm didn’t last long, as Payet curled a free kick on to the head of Giroud for five just moments later.

Lloris showed great reactions to punch a Sverrir Ingason header out from under the bar and could do nothing on a header from ex-Pescara midfielder Birkir Bjarnason on Ari Skulason’s cross.

Lloris was beaten by a pull-back from the by-line and Eliaquim Mangala had to intercept, preventing an easy Alfred Finnbogason tap-in.

France 5-2 Iceland

Giroud 12, 59 (F), Pogba 19 (F), Payet 43 (F), Griezmann 45 (F), Sigthorsson 56 (I), B Bjarnason 83 (I)

France: Lloris; Sagna, Umtiti, Koscielny (Mangala 72), Evra; Pogba, Matuidi; Sissoko, Griezmann, Payet (Coman 79); Giroud (Gignac 60)

Iceland: Halldorsson; B Saevarsson, Arnason (Ingason 46), R Sigurdsson, A Skulason; Gudmundsson, A Gunnarsson, G Sigurdsson, B Bjarnason; Sigthorsson (Gudjohnsen , Bodvarsson (Finnbogason 46)

Ref: Kuipers (NED)