Iceland bows out of with shoulders high as they were knocked out of the Euro 2016 competition by a more talented France in the fourth quarter final game of the competition, July 3, 2016, with a 5-2 thriller under the rain in the Stade de France, in Paris, France.
Iceland, the smallest country ever to qualify for a major tournament with a population of about 360,000, started the game with high hopes and confidence, being more adventurous than before with Gylfi Sigurdsson taking the first shot of the night, which was saved by the French goal keeper Hugo Lloris.
Their new approach did not pay off as Giroud found the back of the net in the 12 minutes after neatly finishing off a pass from Blaise Matuidi. Paul Pogba when on too score in the 20 minutes after towering high above the Icelandic defence to head Antoine Griezmann’s corner into the back of the net. Goals by Dimitri Payet and Griezmann 43and 45minutes ended the first half 4-0.
Iceland came in strong in the second half with Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scoring in the 56 minute. France responded with a wonderful header by Giroud to restore the 4 goals margin. Iceland who weren’t done yet scored another courtesy of Birkir Bjarnason header in the 84 minutes, ending the game 5-2.
France dominated with a 59% – 41% possession out which they had 15 goal attempts with 8 shots on target; the Icelanders, on the other hand, had 11 shot goal attempts with 5 shots on target.
The game was relatively calm with both teams receiving one yellow card each. France committed 8 fouls while Iceland committed 11.
The game saw France progress to the semi-final round to face Germany on July 8 in Marseille (8 pm local time).
Iceland, appearing for the first time, surprised many by reaching this stage above all odds. They maintained the same starting eleven for five consecutive games they played, becoming the first team to do that in an European championship. They will go home with pride.