France ends Iceland's 2016 dream with a crushing victory
Home nation destroy tournament minnows to line themselves up with a semi-final clash against Germany
France 5 Iceland 2
France thrashed Iceland on Sunday night to set up a mouth-watering Euro 2016 semi-final clash with Germany on Thursday.
Where England collapsed, the French cruised, brushing aside the so-called tournament minnows in a display that confirmed their reputation as the favourites to win the trophy next Sunday.
The result was also confirmation of just how bad England are. As France scored four first-half goals - the first from Olivier Giroud on 12 minutes and the fourth from Antoine Griezmann right on half-time - it was hard to believe they were playing the same team who had dominated England last Monday.
The French hadn't managed a goal in the first half of any of their previous matches at this championship, but they found their way through the Iceland defence all too easily, with Paul Pogba and Dimitri Payet also helping themselves to goals.
With the game won at half-time, France eased up for the next 45 minutes, allowing their visitors to claw back a measure of respectability with goals from Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Birkir Bjarnason.
But between those strikes, Giroud scored his second, the Arsenal striker heading home from a free-kick.
"We're very pleased," said Giroud. "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 we'd pay a heavy price against Germany."
The last time France beat Germany in a competitive fixture was at the 1958 World Cup, while the Germans won 1-0 when they met at the World Cup two years ago.
French coach Didier Deschamps was cautious when asked to assess their chances of putting an end to the losing streak on Thursday.
"Look, Germany are Germany," he said. "They're the reigning world champions and one of the best sides at the European Championship. They had a scare against Italy in the quarter-final but other than that, they've been in control of all the games they've played.
"But it won't be a stroll in the park for them. We'll go all out for it. We're playing in France, our own country, and we'll go all out for it. We have to remember anything is possible," he added.
Iceland joint-manager Lars Lagerback rued what he called the "silly mistakes" of his side in the first-half, but overall has only happy memories of the tournament.
"It's been a fantastic journey for me and I feel all the positivity and interest deep in my heart," he said. "I didn't enjoy the first 45 minutes tonight but otherwise, I've enjoyed every minute I've spent in Iceland and with the team.
"It's been a privilege to take part in this journey."