France thrash Iceland to reach semi finals

France scored five to bring a brutal end to the Iceland fairytale and set up an intriguing Euro 2016 semi-final against world champions Germany in Marseille on Thursday.

There was almost a sense of disbelief around the Stade de France at the break as the host nation walked off with a 4-0 advantage, two of the goals coming in the closing minutes of the half.

Olivier Giroud’s low strike and Paul Pogba’s powerful header from a corner had settled early French nerves and put their side in control.

Dimitri Payet scored his third goal of an increasingly memorable tournament for the West Ham playmaker with a precise low strike from 20 yards that skidded across the greasy surface before Antoine Griezmann deftly lifted the ball over Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson.

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 a second for his side in the final stages of what has been a remarkable tournament debut for their team.

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