Hosts France produced a dominant display at Euro 2016, defeating Iceland 5-2 to set up a semi-f...
Hosts France produced a dominant display at Euro 2016, defeating Iceland 5-2 to set up a semi-final date with Germany.
Fresh from their remarkable victory against England, the smallest country to ever grace a major tournament arrived at the Stade de France looking to create an even bigger shock.
There was to be no happy ending to the biggest match in Icelandic football, though, as Didier Deschamps’ men shook off the sluggishness that had dogged them up until this point to win a thoroughly entertaining quarter-final.
World champions Germany now await in Marseille this Thursday, with a record-breaking first-half display key to France’s victory against the neutrals’ favourites.
Olivier Giroud’s 12th-minute strike was Les Bleus’ maiden first-half goal at this European Championship and proved the precursor to an avalanche, with Paul Pogba’s towering header, a wonderful Dimitri Payet strike and inspired Antoine Griezmann effort putting them in cruise control.
It was the first time a side had scored four goals in the first half of a Euros match and unsurprisingly proved too much of a mountain to climb, with Giroud adding another shortly after Kolbeinn Sigthorsson pulled one back.
That strike, just like Birkir Bjarnason’s late on, was celebrated wildly by Iceland’s fantastic support, who stayed long after the final whistle to applaud their players as a groundbreaking few weeks came to an end.
It was a case of expectancy overcoming hope at the Stade de France, where police carried out a controlled explosion on a suspicious vehicle outside the ground’s perimeter in the hours before kick-off.
Watch the highlights below