MX23RW : Tuesday, September 28 20:47:21| >> :600:1825321:1825321:
Jul 3, 2016 at 8pm UK at Stade de France
France
5-2
IcelandIceland
Giroud (12', 59'), Pogba (20'), Payet (43'), Griezmann (45')
FT(HT: 4-0)
Sighthorsson (56'), Bjarnason (84')

Live Commentary: France 5-2 Iceland - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the Euro 2016 quarter-final between France and Iceland from the Stade de France.
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Euro 2016 hosts France took on Iceland on Sunday night for a spot in the semi-finals of the competition.

A devastating first-half performance from the home nation saw Olivier Giroud, Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann register to all but end the quarter-final ahead of the second period.

Iceland had one back through Kolbeinn Sigthorsson in the 56th minute, but Giroud scored his second of the night three minutes later for 5-1.

There was to be one more goal, however, and it came for Iceland as Birkir Bjarnason headed home at the far post in the 84th minute of action.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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Evening all! Sports Mole's live Euro 2016 coverage continues from the Stade de France as hosts France take on Iceland in the fourth and final quarter-final of these championships. The winner of this match will take on World champions Germany in the semi-finals and what a story it would be if Iceland could dump out the hosts after overcoming England in the last round. Should be a cracking tie tonight!

Just a reminder that Portugal, Wales and Germany have already booked their spot in the semi-finals. Portugal overcame Poland on penalties on Thursday night, before Wales beat Belgium 3-1 to book a last-four clash with Cristiano Ronaldo & Co. Last night, Germany beat Italy on penalties after the two nations played out a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes of football. Will this one go the distance?!

Portugal will take on Wales in the first semi-final on Wednesday night in Lyon, before Germany face the winner of this match on Thursday night in Marseille. In truth, it would be a major surprise if France bowed out to Iceland at this stage, but Iceland shocked England in the last round and also impressed in the group stages of their first ever European Championships. One thing is for certain, France will need to put on a strong performance if they are to hold off the threat of this hearty and inspired outfit.

Kickoff tonight is not actually until 8pm UK time, but be sure to remain with me for all of the build-up and indeed team news, which is expected to land in the next 50 minutes or so. It will be interesting to see whether either manager has shuffled their pack from the round of 16. France changes are more likely as Iceland have had a very settled team thus far in this competition.


Tonight will be the 12th meeting between France and Iceland in international football. Iceland are yet to beat France, who have triumphed in eight of their 11 fixtures to date. They have not met since 2012, however, when France recorded a 3-2 win in an international friendly. Iceland actually took a 2-0 lead in that particular match, but Laurent Blanc's side responded with goals through Mathieu Debuchy, Franck Ribery and Adil Rami. A five-goal thriller would be welcomed tonight.

Their last competitive meeting came in October 1999, when France recorded a 3-2 win on home soil during qualification for Euro 2000. They also met during qualification for Euro 1992, Euro 1988 and Euro 1976 and France won four of their six meetings across those campaigns. They also clashed during qualification for the 1958 World Cup, with France winning 5-1 away and 8-0 at home.

To be honest, the statistics are very much against Iceland, but they have already created history by reaching the championships and indeed securing a spot in the quarter-finals. It is a win-win situation for Iceland tonight and that will make them extremely dangerous opponents for France, whose supporters will demand a strong performance and indeed progression to the semi-finals.


France are chasing their third European Championship crown, having lifted the trophy on home soil in 1984 and also in 2000. They went out in the group stage of Euro 2008, but have made the quarter-finals in three of their last four tournaments and will be looking to make the semi-finals for the first time since Euro 1996, when they surprisingly lost to Czech Republic in the final four.

France also made the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, but they have been eliminated in the group stages in two of the last four World Cups. The French national team have a rich history in international football, but they are now 16 years without a major trophy and that is too long for a team that has such talent. They are, according to the bookmakers at least, the favourites to win the trophy on home soil.

Sports Mole has asked former Manchester United defender Danny Higginbotham, who correctly backed Germany on penalties last night, for his prediction for tonight's match...


As hosts, France automatically qualified for Euro 2016 and as a result, they entered the tournament having not played a competitive game of football since losing to Germany in the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup. Their friendly results in 2015 were strong, however, winning each of their four matches entering the championships. The bookmakers also installed them as the pre-tournament favourites.

In truth, it would have been a major surprise if Didier Deschamps failed to lead France through Group A and the Blues got their challenge underway with a 2-1 win over Romania on the opening night. The two teams were actually locked at 1-1 entering the final moments of the clash in Paris, but Dimitri Payet popped up with an 89th-minute winner to secure all the points for France.

The win against Romania took the pressure off the hosts ahead of their second Group A game against Albania and once again, it was a bit of a struggle for Deschamps's side. Another late show secured all the points, however, as stoppage-time goals from Antoine Griezmann and Payet secured a 2-0 win and ensured that the hosts would advance into the round of 16 as group winners.

Dimitri Payet celebrates scoring during the Euro 2016 Group A game between France and Albania on June 15, 2016© AFP


It did not come as much of a surprise when Deschamps made changes for their final group match against Switzerland and neither side did enough to secure all the points in a goalless draw. France were not at their best in the group stages, but qualified with seven points and that position in the group saw them drawn alongside one of the best third-place finishers – Republic of Ireland.

It took less than two minutes for the Lyon crowd to quieten as Republic of Ireland took a 1-0 lead through an early Robbie Brady penalty, but Griezmann levelled the scores in the 57th minute, before scoring a second four minutes later. In truth, the pressure had been rising at the start of the second period and France showed their character to overcome a tricky situation in the round of 16.

With all respect to Iceland, if France were offered these opponents in the quarter-finals at the start of the tournament, they would have taken it. There is just no comparing the two nations when it comes to international football, but Iceland are on an incredibly journey. France will not be in the mood for sentiment, however, as they seek to make to the semi-finals on home soil.

France's forward Dimitri Payet (R) is congratulated by France's coach Didier Deschamps after scoring the 2-1 goal during the Euro 2016 group A football match between France and Romania at Stade de France, in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on June 10, 2016© AFP


As mentioned, France landed the crown the last time that the European Championships were held on French soil (1984). On that occasion, they beat Portugal in the semi-finals, before recording a 2-0 win over Spain in the final. France also won the 1998 World Cup on home soil – beating Brazil 3-0 in the final courtesy of a double from Zinedine Zidane and stoppage-time effort from Emmanuel Petit. How good was Zidane by the way? What an unbelievable talent he was! Right, time for the team news...

TEAMS!

FRA: Lloris; Sagna, Umtiti, Koscielny, Evra; Pogba, Sissoko, Matuidi; Griezmann, Giroud, Payet

ISL: Halldorsson; Saevarsson, R.Sigurdsson, Arnason, Skulason; Gudmundsson, G.Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Sigthorsson, Bodvarsson


France are without the services of Adil Rami and N'Golo Kante tonight through suspension, which has opened up spots in the team for Samuel Umtiti, who is on the verge of joining Barcelona, and Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko. Kingsley Coman misses out with a strain, which leaves Payet and Griezmann supporting centre-forward Olivier Giroud. Two changes from the ROI match!

Lyon's French defender Samuel Umtiti (L) vies with Valencia's midfielder Dani Parejo (R) during the Champions League group H football match between Lyon and Valencia on September 29, 2015 at the Gerland stadium in Lyon, central-eastern France. © Getty Images


No surprises in the Iceland XI as joint-managers Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson select the same team that started the England match in the round of 16. Cardiff City's Aron Gunnarsson once again skippers the team from the middle of the park, while Swansea City's Gylfi Sigurdsson is also in the line-up. The scorer of the winning goal against England, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, leads the line.

So there we have it. The two teams are in and we are now little under 50 minutes from kickoff on this warm evening in Saint-Denis. I have spoken about France and the pressure facing the Blues tonight, but what about Iceland? You would have been given good odds to back Iceland to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 and they have captured the imagination with their success.

Despite impressing in the group stages, not many gave Iceland a chance of overcoming England in the round of 16. It was supposed to be a comfortable progression for England, but Iceland had not read the script and potentially inflicted England's worst ever defeat at a major competition on Monday night. The celebrations at the final whistle showed just how much it meant to this tiny nation.

Iceland supporters celebrate their team's 2-1 win after the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France© Getty Images


When Three Lions skipper Wayne Rooney sent England into a fourth-minute lead in the round of 16, that was supposed to be the end of Iceland's challenge at Euro 2016. They were level just two minutes later, however, when Ragnar Sigurdsson levelled from close range after England had been caught out by a long throw from Cardiff City midfielder and Iceland skipper Aron Gunnarsson.

Iceland then took a 2-1 lead in the 18th minute when Kolbeinn Sigthorsson found the bottom corner from just inside the box after centre-back pair Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill had failed to close down the striker. England goalkeeper Joe Hart should have kept out Sigthorsson's low effort, but it had just enough power to find a route into the bottom corner and turn the game around in Nice.

There was still a large chunk of the last-16 tie to play, but England just never recovered from the second goal and Iceland deserved to advance into the quarter-finals after putting on another impressive performance. The romantics would have fancied a France versus England quarter-final, but Iceland advanced and indeed forced Roy Hodgson to step down from his position as manager of the Three Lions.

Iceland players celebrate their team's 2-1 win in the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France© Getty Images


It is worth remembering that this is Iceland's first ever major football tournament. They impressed during qualifying – winning six of their 10 matches to finish in second position and also recorded two victories over Netherlands to secure a spot in these championships. Joint-managers Lagerback and Hallgrimsson, however, would have never expected that their journey would continue into the quarter-finals.

Iceland opened their Group F campaign with a 1-1 draw against Portugal on June 14. Nani sent Fernando Santos's side into a first-half lead in Saint-Etienne, but Birkir Bjarnason levelled in the 50th minute and that was how it finished on the night. Cristiano Ronaldo criticised Iceland for their defensive tactics after the match, but they did themselves proud in their opening fixture.


Gylfi Sigurdsson sent Iceland into a 1-0 lead in their second group match on June 18 against Hungary, but there was to be heartbreak in the 88th minute as Birkir Mar Saevarsson scored an own goal to level the scores at 1-1 and leave Iceland needing a point in their final group match to make the knockout round. As it transpired, a point would have seen them finish third in the group and land a last-16 tie with Croatia, while Portugal were closing on a last-16 clash with England.

Iceland were level with Austria until the 94th minute of their final Group F match, when a breakaway saw Arnor Ingvi Traustason score a winner in a 2-1 success in Paris. That result saw Iceland finish second in Group F behind Hungary and that brought a clash with England. In hindsight, England might well have preferred to take on Portugal in the first knockout round, which is some statement to make!

Iceland's success this summer is even more incredible when considering that they have a population around the 325,000 mark. Assuming 50% are male and 20% are aged between 18-40, that leaves 32,500 to choose a squad from. Putting that into context, Iceland have to choose a national team from the average attendance of Leicester City's stadium. Incredible!


Sports Mole has asked former Manchester United defender Danny Higginbotham, who correctly backed Germany on penalties last night, for his prediction for tonight's match...


Confirmation of the two teams for tonight's match...

FRA: Lloris; Sagna, Umtiti, Koscielny, Evra; Pogba, Sissoko, Matuidi; Griezmann, Giroud, Payet

ISL: Halldorsson; Saevarsson, R.Sigurdsson, Arnason, Skulason; Gudmundsson, G.Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Bjarnason; Sigthorsson, Bodvarsson


Time for the national anthems!

As expected, both anthems are very emotional! It must be said that the atmosphere inside the stadium is just wonderful. Once the pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged, we will be ready to get the fourth and final quarter-final of Euro 2016 underway!

KICKOFF! France get the first period of action underway here...

... what a miserable night in France! The rain id pouring, but the supporters are still bouncing inside the stadium. You just get the feeling that Iceland need to start this game well. If France manage to make the breakthrough in the early stages, it could be a very difficult night for the team in white.

Payet has the chance to deliver a deep free kick into the Iceland box, but Pogba is deemed to have felled Ragnar Sigurdsson and the referee blows his whistle. Fast start from the home side here.

SHOT! The game's first attempt on target comes from Iceland as Gylfi Sigurdsson fires at Lloris after turning inside the France box. First sign of the threat from Iceland here!

Gudmundsson finds some space inside the France box after a lack of communication from the French defence, but the number seven just cannot get the ball under control. Iceland have already showed that they have not come to defend tonight. France know that they are in a game early on.

SAVE! Halldorsson has to get down and get hands to a strike from Payet, which came from just outside the box. Already a very open start as both teams commit players in the final third.

Iceland again break and Gylfi Sigurdsson can find Bodvarsson, but the number 15 takes the ball too wide and Matuidi is across to make the challenge. France's defence does not look secure tonight.

Just a reminder that the winner of tonight's quarter-final will take on Germany in the second semi-final on Thursday night. France, as expected, are the favourites, but Iceland have come to play tonight and look very dangerous inside the opening 10 minutes. Some noise from their supporters too!

Bjarnason turns and shoots outside the France box, but his effort is wide of the post.

Iceland continue to take out France's midfield with long balls and that tactic is working very well at the moment as Sigthorsson causes problems to the home side's defensive unit. France looked to make the faster start in the opening minute or two, but Iceland have now settled into this game.

GOAL! France 1-0 Iceland (Giroud)

France make the breakthrough in the 12th minute of this match as Matuidi releases Giroud and the Arsenal striker finds the back of the net from a wide angle. Super finish from the striker!

Iceland need to find a way to regroup, but the goal has hurt them and France are looking to take advantage as they flood forward. The next goal just has to come for Iceland in this match.

Pogba is a touch fortunate to escape a booking after a late challenge on Bodvarsson, who hits the deck and does not look too happy with the challenge. In fairness to Iceland, it has been a decent response and Bodvarsson heads into the arms of Lloris after meeting a cross from the right.

GOAL! France 2-0 Iceland (Pogba)

France score their second of the match as Pogba heads a Griezmann corner into the back of the net from close range. It was a wonderful leap from the midfielder and it found the top corner!

Wonderful noise from the home supporters at the moment as their team search for a third goal, which would surely kill off any challenge from Iceland. It is all one-way traffic at the moment.

Matuidi again breaks into a wide position for France before looking to deliver, but Arnason is across to make the challenge and Iceland can resume play from the dead-ball line. So, 24 minutes on the clock and France lead 2-0 courtesy of a smart finish from Giroud and towering Pogba header here.

CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Iceland as a long throw into the France box causes all sorts of problems, but Radnar Sigurdsson fires over the crossbar under pressure from Umtiti!

Pogba has taken some criticism in this tournament, but the Juventus midfielder has been brilliant in this quarter-final - both offensively and defensively. Iceland keep coming at the home team and they are committing players forward, but it is leaving space for France on the counter-attack here.

Iceland are still in this quarter-final, but they need to score the next goal, that is for certain. France struggled defensively when they were put under pressure in the early moments, but quick-fire goals from Giroud and Pogba have left them in control. Already 31 minutes of this quarter-final played.

Possession football from France as they pass and probe in the final third.

Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining and France are the team looking for the game's third goal, which would surely kill off any challenge from Iceland which may or may not arrive. The home supporters are in wonderful voice and you sense that they fancy their chances from this position.

Half-chance for the home side as Payet finds space outside the Iceland box before attempting to slide a pass into Giroud, but Ragnar Sigurdsson is on hand to make a fine challenge.

Another half-chance for France as Payet shows super feet in a wide position before setting up Matuidi on the edge of the box, but his effort was always swinging away from the Iceland goal.

Sagna delivers a cross towards Giroud and the striker makes contact inside the Iceland box, but his header lacks power and Halldorsson is on hand to collect. Not long left in this first period.

GOAL! France 3-0 Iceland (Payet)

That is game over! France have their third goal of this quarter-final as Griezmann sets up Payet and the West Ham attacker finds the back of the net with a low effort, which swung away from Halldorsson.

GOAL! France 4-0 Iceland (Griezmann)

Oh my word! France have their fourth of the night as Griezmann breaks clear before brilliantly chipping his effort over the onrushing goalkeeper. It is embarrassment for Iceland now.

HALF-TIME: France 4-0 Iceland

So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with France leading 4-0 courtesy of goals from Giroud, Pogba, Payet and Griezmann. Iceland actually started quite well and looked to cause problems in the final third, but France have just been devastating in front of goal.

STATS! France have dominated the possession with 64%, while they have had seven attempts, five of which were on target and four of which found the back of the net. Iceland, meanwhile, hit the target with two of their five attempts in the first 45 minutes. No yellow cards to report thus far!

BENCH WATCH! Not that France need more attacking options in the second period, but the likes of Coman, Martial, Gignac and Cabaye will all hope to feature in the second 45 minutes here. Iceland might look to give a run-out to the experienced Eidur Gudjohnsen, while Alfred Finnbogason is also available. Iceland need to find a way of keeping the score down in the second half of this quarter-final.

RESTART! Iceland resume the action here...

... ICELAND SUBS! Ingason and Finnbogason replace Bodvarsson and Arnason.

I would not be surprised if France slowed their tempo in this second period and looked to converse energy for the semi-final against Germany next week. The game is won - sorry Iceland fans!

CHANCE! France have a wonderful chance to score a fifth as Payet finds all sorts of time inside the Iceland box, but his effort is high of the target. Should have been his second!

Pogba lets go from outside the Iceland box, but his effort was always moving wide of the post. France are shifting the ball from left to right as they seek more goals in this quarter-final.

Half-chance for Iceland this time, but Gudmundsson skies his effort from outside the box.

Good spell of possession for Iceland in the last couple of minutes, which is just what they needed following a strong start to the second period from France. I would not be a surprised to see some alterations in the next five or 10 minutes as Deschamps starts to think about the semi-final.

GOAL! France 4-1 Iceland (Sigthorsson)

Game on?! Iceland are on the board here as Gylfi Sigurdsson delivers a wonderful cross into the box and Sigthorsson is on hand to convert past Lloris from close range. Super goal there!

BOOKING! Bjarnason (Iceland) is booked for a late challenge on Giroud.

GOAL! France 5-1 Iceland (Giroud)

No comeback then! France score their fifth of the night as Giroud heads a super Payet free kick into the back of the net. Not sure about the goalkeeping, but it was some header there!

FRANCE SUB! Gignac replaces Giroud for France.

Half-chance for Finnbogason as Iceland threaten from another long throw, but the striker hooks over the crossbar from close range. Six goals and counting - I am predicting more in this game!

SAVE! Wonderful save from Lloris as the France goalkeeper keeps out a close-range header from Ingason. What a stop from the Tottenham Hotspur man there!

Possession football from Iceland in the last couple of minutes as they continue to pass and probe in the final third. They might be losing 5-1, but they have given this second period a real go and their supporters are responding. There looks to be some more movement on the French bench here.

Half-chance for France to score a sixth as Sissoko delivers a wonderful cross from the right and it eventually reaches Gignac, but the striker was always off-balance and his effort was wide.

Ingason deflects the ball behind as France look to score a sixth on the counter-attack. Sissoko is absolutely blasting his way past the Iceland midfield at the moment here!

FRANCE SUB! Koscielny is replaced by Mangala in France's second change.

Little over 15 minutes of normal time remaining and I think it would be safe to say that we will not need extra-time to decide the outcome of this quarter-final. France will take on Germany in the second semi-final next Thursday, one day after Wales have clashed with Portugal.

BOOKING! Umtiti (France) is booked for holding back Gudmundsson.

Iceland have been much, much better in the second period, but the damage was done in the first and France have managed to save some energy ahead of their semi-final against Germany next Thursday - what a match that promises to be! Little over 10 minutes of this match to play tonight.

Gylfi Sigurdsson releases a strike from the edge of the France box, but Mangala is out to confront the Swansea midfielder and the ball bounces into the arms of the waiting Lloris.

FRANCE SUB! Coman replaces Payet for the home nation.

ICELAND SUB! Eidur Gudjohnsen replaces Sigthorsson for Iceland.

GOAL! France 5-2 Iceland (Bjarnason)

Iceland score again! This time it is Bjarnason who finds the bottom corner with a terrific header. Not sure about the comeback, but Iceland have been much better in this second period.

Couple of half-chances for France, but Coman fires straight at the goalkeeper, before Sissoko finds the stands at the far post. Seven goals and counting as Iceland break straight down the other end.

Iceland continue to play their hearts out here as France look dodgy at the back!

We are into the first of two additional minutes here.

The Iceland supporters continue to sing their hearts out, but their team is heading out of this competition in the quarter-final stage. France will take on Germany in the semis next week!

FULL-TIME: France 5-2 Iceland

So there we have it. No surprises tonight as France book their spot in the semi-finals of Euro 2016 with a 5-2 win over Iceland, whose incredibly journey ends at the Stade de France. That is just about it from me tonight - thanks for joining Sports Mole for the live coverage and be sure to join us again soon!

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Hugo Lloris of France acknowledges the fans after defeating Honduras 3-0 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group E match between France and Honduras at Estadio Beira-Rio on June 15, 2014
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