The #EURO2016 semi-final lineup is complete!
Who will contest the final? pic.twitter.com/nw7HdavRIS
— UEFA EURO (@UEFAEURO) July 3, 2016
The fourth quarter-final of Euro 2016 was played between France and Iceland, wherein the hosts ended the Iceland fairytale by thrashing them 5-2.
Olivier Giroud opened the scoring for France in the 12th minute with a clinical left-footed finish, followed by Paul Pogba, who headed in a corner kick to add the second seven minutes later.
In the 42nd minute, Dimitri Payet scored the third goal of the game, as well as his third of the tournament, and Griezmann followed suit with a chipped goal at the stroke of half-time, making the score an astonishing 4-0 at the break.
Kolbeinn Sigthorsson pulled one back for his side in the 56th minute, but Giroud scored again after three minutes, restoring France’s 4-goal lead with a headed goal. Birkir Bjarnason then scored the final goal of the game in the 84th minute, capping off a brilliant performance by the Icelanders in their debut Euro season.
Antoine Griezmann was named the man of the match for his terrific performance. He now has 4 goals in Euro 2016, making him the highest goal scorer of the tournament so far. The likes of Payet and Giroud are one place behind the Atletico Madrid star, with 3 goals each.
They both had their say in the post-match interview –
Dimitri Payet: “We managed to score a lot of goals, we scored quickly compared to previous fixtures. We have a lot of quality going forward. This was our best performance. We worked all week on Iceland’s strengths, we were aware of that.”
Olivier Giroud: “We’re very pleased, we scored five goals. Although we did concede a couple, we had a lot of fun and are pleased with our performance. We’re going to try to erase a few of these small defensive mistakes, because against Germany we’d pay a heavy price.”
Iceland striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson said: “Our defending didn’t work out as we wanted, but it’s not strange that we’re tired after so many games with the same squad. We got back into it in the second half, we showed a lot of character to do that, and we’re really happy that we won the second half.”
Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson remained optimistic about the future, saying: “We are disappointed but incredibly proud. It’s been an amazing experience. A lot of hard work has gone into this and the fans have been fantastic.
“[Speaking after the final whistle] They are still singing, it’s unbelievable. The French have all left. They are still here. It just shows what we put into this.
“The first half was terrible, we managed to play better after the break. We decided we could not leave like that. We will learn from this. We are just starting.”
The Frenchmen have now progressed through to the semi-finals, where they will face-off against the mighty Germans in Marseille on Thursday.