After a week of triumph for Iceland, in which they infamously defeated England on Monday, their fire was brutally extinguished by five goals from Giroud (2), Payet, Pogba & Griezmann, but two in return from Sigthorsson & Bjamason saw them bravely bow out in defeat.
Giroud opened the scoring with a low strike to beat Halldórsson and Paul Pogba. Shortly after, Dimitrious Payet scored his third goal of this memorable tournament so far with a placed shot from 20 yards out that skidded into the bottom left hand corner, leaving Anton Griezmann to chip it to Hannes Halldórsson to stun just about everyone going into half time.
After the restart, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson stabbed home at the near post from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross as Iceland refused to give in before France restored their four goal advantage when Giroud headed in a free kick.
Still, there was more to cheer for the excellent Iceland fans when Birkir Bjarnason headed in a second one for his side in the final stages of what has been a remarkable tournament debut for their team.
Iceland striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson: “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: “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.”
France midfielder 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.”
France striker 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.”
France now travels to Marseille on Thursday to face the current world champions, Germany. If tonight was anything to go by, wke’re in for a stunner!
Photo Credit: Getty Images