France will play Germany in the Semifinal next Thursday, courtesy of a 5-2 thrashing of Iceland this Sunday evening in the Stade de France.
A double from Olivier Giroud and goals from Dimitry Payet, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann gave Les Bleus the win over Iceland, who still managed to grab two goals thanks to Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Bikir Bjarnason.
Everyone went into this game watching Iceland and seeing if they can cause the same level of upset that they did last Monday against England, but France proved to be a lot more tactically aware than the English, and quickly allowed Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi to control the game.
Giroud opened the scoring when he fired home past Halldorsson after 12 minutes following a pass from Blaise Matuidi that Glenn Hoddle on commentary described as a “swaz” ball? Despite that, the finish was top draw, and gave France a very early lead.
England did the same thing as the French in terms of scoring early, but France doubled their lead soon after thanks to a powerful header from Paul Pogba, which really gave France the upper hand in terms of the pace of the game.
After the second goal, France controlled the first half, and made it so enjoyable to watch, and they were creating chances and stretching Iceland out thanks to the movement of Giroud, Payet and Griezmann up top.
Griezmann then added a third thanks to a beautifully chipped goal that essentially ended the game, and put the Atletico Madrid star top of the Euro 2016 goal scoring charts.
Before half time, Payet got in on the act, and fired it into the right hand corner of the net on his left foot, thanks to some good play from his attacking partners Griezmann and Giroud.
That first half was arguably the best of the tournament, with France looking strong, quick and controlling for the first time in the tournament. It begs the question whether Didier Deschamps will leave out N’Golo Kante, and based on tonight’s performance Kante may be lucky to regain his place.
The second half started with France knocking the ball around the back but Iceland trying their hardest to get something out of the game, and they did when Nantes’ Kolbeinn Sigthorsson found himself in the box and tapped it home to save some face for the Iceland fans.
Literally minutes later, Giroud added his second and France’s fifth after he bravely got his head on a brilliant Payet free kick. It topped off the performance of Giroud, who was superb in his hold up play and his goal scoring (obviously).
It wasn’t too late for Iceland to grab another back thanks to Bjarnason, but the night belonged to Les Bleus, and they go on to face World Champions Germany, a repeat of the quarter final of the 2014 World Cup. France will fancy their chances, but it will be a superb game for the neutrals!