France vs Iceland - Tactical Report

France scored five to end Iceland's fairytale EURO run and set up an interesting semi-final against Germany in Marseille on Thursday.

France scored five to end Iceland's fairytale EURO run and set up an interesting semi-final against Germany in Marseille on Thursday.

Olivier Giroud's left-footed strike and Paul Pogba's powerful header from a corner had given the host an early lead against Iceland. Dimitri Payet then made it three with a low strike before Antoine Griezmann lofted the ball over goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson to give France a 4-0 lead before half-time.

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Birkir Bjarnason scored for Iceland on either side of Giroud header to end a remarkable tournament debut for Iceland.

Nordic engine runs out of steam

Iceland became the first team in history to name an unchanged starting XI in its opening five games of a Euros but the team looked tired against a French side blessed with physicality and pace.

The Nordic defence, which had stood tall against the likes of England and Portugal, was found wanting, especially in set-pieces. The lack of pace was also exposed when Griezmann ran past the defenders with ease to score France's fourth.

France was without Leicester City midfielder N'Golo Kanté. Pogba dropped to take up that role as the Right CDM along with Blaise Matuidi in the left in France's favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.

 

Moussa Sissoko played in right side of the attacking trio of midfielders with Payet on the left and Griezmann operating behind the striker Giroud.

Sissoko's energy was a constant menace for the tired Iceland defence while Pogba had a great influence dictating the play from behind the half-line. In the end, the quality of France's players were too much for the men from Iceland to handle.

Thank you Iceland

Iceland not only defied the odds by qualifying from the group stage — including a dramatic late winner against Austria — but also deservedly beat a very talented England in a match that will surely find a place in Nordic folklore in many years to come.

Under the managers Heimir Hallgrimsson and Lars Lagerback, the men from Iceland showed to the world what can be achieved through determination and organisation. One can only hope the team will perform well in World Cup Qualifiers and keep the legend alive!