Posted on4 July, 2016 | 04:05

France 5-2 Iceland: Olivier Giroud scores twice as Euro 2016 hosts cruise to victory to set up mouthwatering semi-final with Germany

This will have made for uncomfortable viewing in Iceland and won’t have been an awful lot better for the English.
Iceland, the conquerors of Roy Hodgson’s team in the last 16, fell to earth here in Paris and even their fanatical supporters couldn’t save them.
The fans kept going to the end, their unique formation clapping still ringing around the Stade de France long after the teams had left the field. Earlier, the French supporters had joined in too
But for the Iceland team this proved to(...)

This will have made for uncomfortable viewing in Iceland and won’t have been an awful lot better for the English.

Iceland, the conquerors of Roy Hodgson’s team in the last 16, fell to earth here in Paris and even their fanatical supporters couldn’t save them.

The fans kept going to the end, their unique formation clapping still ringing around the Stade de France long after the teams had left the field. Earlier, the French supporters had joined in too

But for the Iceland team this proved to be a step too far. Here they faced a French side occasionally uncomfortable against their direct play but on the whole far too streetwise and clinical for a nation that arrived in this country four weeks ago with no football pedigree whatsoever.

Four down at half time, we feared for Iceland. Nobody wanted their adventure to end on a hiding. In the end that didn’t happen and Iceland can even say they ’won’ the second half 2-1.

But it was impossible to look at this game and the way France unpicked the Iceland defence without asking once again just how on earth England managed to lose to Lars Lagerback’s limited team a week ago in Nice.

For all their prowess at set pieces, for example, Iceland actually proved vulnerable to them here. France scored from two and didn’t have to work that hard in either instance.

Maybe England could have profited in a similar fashion - but to score from set pieces you do have to be able to keep the delivery on the field in the first place.

So Iceland head for home with a bag full of memories and goodwill and France roll on to a semi-final with Germany in Marseille on Thursday. Some occasion that will be.

Encouragingly for France, they seem to be improving. Here, on a soaking wet Paris night, Didier Deschamps’ team scored their only first-half goals of Euro 2016 so far. Happily for them there were four.

Their key players are either maintaining or running in to form.

West Ham’s Dimitri Payet continues to be France’s go-to man for clever play but now he has players around him like Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Olivier Giroud who are contributing with confident football of their own.

All four men scored in the opening 45 minutes last night and between them they made sure Iceland never got a foothold in the game like they did against England.

Lagerback’s team actually started quite well.

Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson engineered a shooting position to test Hugo Lloris early on before Johann Gudmundsson failed to control a lofted pass that threatened to send him clear on goal.

However, Iceland were soon undone by a basic piece of French football which set the tone for the rest of the night.

In gaining a draw against Portugal and a win against England, Iceland had defended with organisation and composure. Here they couldn’t manage it and the way Giroud was able to run clear on to Blaise Matuidi’s long pass, then drive the first goal between the goalkeeper’s legs with his left foot was indicative of the problem.

Giroud finished the move well. It was a true shot. But Iceland’s offside trap let them down and from that point the game was taken away from the visitors


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