Euro 2016: France crush Iceland, to face Germany in semi-final

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A classy performance in the first half was enough to set-up a comfortable 5-2 victory for France, eliminating Euro 2016 upstarts Iceland from the competition.The result was all but secured during the opening 45 minutes thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud, Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet, and Antoine Griezmann.

In the second half, the Icelanders scored a consolation goal through Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, while Giroud netted his second for the match, and Birkir Bjarnason added another goal for the underdogs.This result sends France into the semi-finals as they try to win another international trophy on home soil, while Iceland will still be proud to have progressed a long way in their first major tournament.After Blaise Matuidi made a long pass, Giroud broke the offside trap and ran onto the ball before beating Icelandic goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson with an angled drive in the 12th minute.

Seven minutes later Pogba doubled Les Bleus lead with a towering header from Griezmann’s corner.A long throw-in provided Jon Dadi Bodvarson with an opportunity to bring the Nordic side back into the game but he shot over the bar and then Gylfi Sigurdsson attempted to score from a long-range freekick but it was caught by Hugo Lloris.Payet put France 3-0 up after Griezmann laid the ball off to him, controlled the ball on his right foot, and then struck a left-foot daisycutter through the Icelandic defence.

Just before half-time, Griezmann scored the fourth goal a minute when he dribbled and then chipped the ball over an advancing Halldorsson.Although the French were retaining possession in the second half, Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross from the right-wing found Sigthorsson, who slid in to make the score to 4-1 after 56 minutes. Three minutes later Payet’s freekick was headed in by Giroud to quickly restore the four-goal lead.

Despite the dominance of the French, Lloris still had to be alert to save a header from Sverrir Ingi Ingason after another long throw-in by Iceland. After that France kept searching for a sixth goal but they were not able to place Halldorsson under any more pressure.Another consolation goal was scored by Iceland after 84 minutes when Ari Skulason crossed from the left-wing and Bjarnason headed the ball into the net at the far post.France will play Germany at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille in the semi-finals on Thursday.

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