4 July 2016
Host of the Euro 2016 championship Sunday evening proceeded to the semifinal at the expense of Iceland who took many by surprise with their journey to the quarter finals.
In the buildup to the match, Icelandic players expressed confidence at the possibility of skipping past France as they did England in the second round. French players on the other hand expressed caution, often saying they won’t take the men from the small island of 330,000 people for granted.
Despite this, Iceland lost on the night 5 – 2. Despite the loss, Icelandic supporters never stopped supporting their team; even when they were four goals down, their chant could still be heard. Iceland sure bowed out as heroes.
Arsenal striker, Olivier Giroud put France ahead in the 12th minute when he was put through on goal by lovely pass over the Iceland defense from PSG midfielder, Blaise Matuidi. Giroud struck his shot through the legs of Iceland keeper, Halldorsson.
The second goal of the match was scored by in-demand French midfielder, Paul Pogba in the 20th minute when he powered in a strong header from an Antoinne Griezmann in swinging corner.
France scored their third goal in the 43rd minute when Dimitry Payet who has been in top form for France in the championship struck a shot with his weaker left foot from the edge of the box after he took a short pass from Griezmann. Halldorsson could only stretch as the ball rolled into the bottom left corner of the post.
The scoreline was only going to remain at three for two minutes as Griezmann who had created two goals in the match already scored a lovely chip. Giroud flicked a pass meant for him from Matuidi on to Griezmann. Griezmann then took the pass, bore down on goal with confidence before chipping the ball over the keeper.
With the match at four goals in favour of the host, Iceland went into the dressing room with their heads down but their fans cheering so loud as though they were leading.
At the resumption of hostilities in the second half, Iceland looked a lot better than they were in the first half.
Their effort only took till the 58th minute to pay off when Sigthorsson, one of the scorers against England, directed Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross from the right wing into the back of the net.
France responded almost immediately when Giroud scored his second goal of the match in the 59th minute. Payet was the provider this time as Giroud headed home his carefully placed freekick.
In the 84th minute, Iceland made the scoreline look a little bit more honourable when the tireless Bjarnason steered home a precise header from Skulason cross from the left.
The match ended 5 – 2, meaning France will now face Germany in the semifinal.