France through to semis as they end Icelandic fairytale
France put five past Iceland to reach Euro 2016 semi final against Germany. Iceland, regardless of the result, will return home as heroes after second-half rally.
France put an end to Iceland's incredible Euro 2016 journey, running home 5-2 winners at the Stade de France.
Les Bleus raced into a two goal lead after 20 minutes with goals from Olivier Giroud and Paul Pogba. The hosts then added two more goals in quick succession through Payet and Griezmann just before half time, killing off any chance of an Icelandic fightback.
Woeful Icelandic defending
It was a first half characterised by woeful Icelandic defending, a strength of their game that had previously won them much praise during a fairy tale tournament. An error strewn and tired looking back-guard display let their opposition in all too easily, and France duly took advantage putting the game out of sight in just 45 minutes.
However, Iceland refused to throw the towel in and rallied in the second period. A goal from Sigthórsson, who toed in from a Sigurdsson cross, gave Lars Lagerback's side a glint of brief hope on 55 minutes, but less than three minutes later France restored their four goal advantage. It was yet another defensive lapse that gifted Giroud his second of the night, with a flapping Halldorsson leaving the forward to head into an empty net.
Iceland, though, still did not give in and got a thoroughly deserved second through Bjarnason, who nodded in Skulasson's whipped cross on 82 minutes. Despite the scoreline, Iceland's fans celebrated the goal like it was a winner.
Both the Icelandic fans and their team will be missed. France, on the other hand, march on to face Germany in the semi-final on Thursday.
As it happened...
FULL-TIME: FRANCE 5-2 ICELAND. That's that. France into the semi final against Germany on Thursday after a goal-fest here in Paris. Iceland didn't quite manage that miraculous comeback, but they did win the second half two goals to one. That is some consolation. They'll fly back to Reykjavik as heroes regardless of the score here tonight. France, on the other hand, march on....
90 mins | 2 minutes of added time
86 min | And it would have been 5-3 if it wasn't for a Mangala clearance just now. Hats off Iceland, you've done yourselves proud after that first half-horror show.
82 min | GOAL ICELAND! 5-2. Bjarnason gets a consolation goal, heading in Skulasson's whipped cross. Iceland deserve that. And so do the Iceland fans....they've just gone berserk as if that was the winner. This team, and those fans, will be missed!
80 min | Payet - once again probably France's best player on the night - is taken off for Coman. Deschamps unsurprisingly wants to conserve his star men for the semi final.
75 min | New Barça boy Umtiti is booked for blocking Gudmundsson.
72 min | Koscielny, who is on a yellow, is replaced by Eliaquim Mangala.
70 min | France almost find a sixth on the break as a Payet cross is almost deflected in. Only Halldorsson's outstretched foot stops it creeping in at the near post.
68 min | It's been 72-28 possession in favour of Iceland in the last 15 minutes. They're not going down without a fight....
63 min | Chance Iceland! And it should have been their second. Inagson's point-blank header is saved magnificently by Lloris. Not Iceland's night, this.
60 min | Giroud - on a hat trick - is replaced by Gignac. Must be saving him for ze Germans.
58 min | GOAL Giroud! 5-1. The hope of a comeback lasted all of two minutes. A Payet free-kick is lofted in and Giroud gets there first before a flapping Halldorsson, heading into an empty net. Iceland's nightmare at the back continues.
55 min | GOAL Iceland! 4-1. Sigthórsson toes it in from a Sigurdsson cross! GAME ON! (kind of). Beautiful ball in and this time it's France's turn to be complacent.
50 min | I'm hoping not, but this could end up as a cricket score. It would be cruel on Iceland after the tournament they've had, but France are opening them up with ease.
48 min | Chance for a fifth there. Griezmann is dispossessed on the D and the ball falls invitingly to Payet. He smacks it high over the bar.
45 min | Peeeeeep! We're back under way here in Paris
HALF TIME | A France first-half riot has destroyed Icelandic dreams with just 45 minutes on the clock. France have been good, but Iceland have really let themselves down with some shocking defending. It's a sad way for their fairytale to end. Unless they can miraculously find five goals and not concede in the second period. That's about as unlikely as Iceland reaching a major quarter fina......Oh, yeah.
44 min | GOAL 4-0. Griezmann. Now it really is over. Poor, poor Iceland defending once more. Griezmann races though after Iceland's back-four found sleeping and he dinks it wonderfully over Halldorsson.
42 min | GOAL 3-0. Payet!!! Griezmann lays it off to Payet and the West Ham man sweeps it in through a crowd of players into the far corner. Curtains for Iceland.
39 min | Iceland will need to take the game by the scruff of the neck here if they're to get back into it. You sense they'll need a goal before half time. Not created much from open play so far and they can't just rely on that missile throw-in. Sigurdsson sends a looping free-kick and it almost embarrasses Lloris. Set-plays are looking like Iceland's best chance here.
36 min | France attack after a period of passing as Iceland sit back and invite Les Bleus on. The ball finds it's way to Payet just outside the box the his attempted through ball is swatted away.
31 min | It's another Gunnarsson long throw....but France deal with it. I'm sure we'll be seeing it again tonight that's for sure. Gunnarsson really is Rory Delap reincarnate isn't he!?
28 min | France keeping the ball well and are looking much more composed than in their previous games. Not surprising given they've manged to score two in the opening half an hour. They've another corner too...but it's head away this time.
24 min | CHANCE ICELAND! And it's that (not so secret) weapon - the Aron Gunnarsson long throw. It's headed on by Sigthorsson but the stretching Bodvarsson can only shin it over the bar from a wonderful position.
22 min | Iceland's wonderful Euro 2016 story melting away here isn't it....
20 min | GOAL! 2-0 Pogba! Another far too easy goal for France, this time from a corner. Pogba jumps unchallenged from a drilled Griezmann cross and heads into the top corner. What happened Iceland!?
11 min | GOAL FRANCE!!! 1-0. Stade de France erupts! A lovely ball is played through to Giroud by Matuidi and the big man is clear. He dispatches it expertly through the legs of Halldorsson. That'll settle the nerves, alright.
9 min | Ball drops to Bjarnason and he takes it on the half-volley. Once again though it doesn't give Lloris much trouble and its rolls harmlessly wide. Iceland already looking like they're capable of grabbing a goal on the break...
6 min | Payet takes a pop shot from 25 yards. It's a weak effort but Halldorsson almost makes a mess of it. He regathers just in time.
3 min | Iceland started very well here. Will the jitters hinder France once again?
2 min | Half chance Iceland! Sigurdsson finds space in the box but he rolls a shot tamely into Lloris' arms.
1 min | Attacking free-kick France after Griezmann is brought down 10 yards into the Iceland half. Ball comes in but France penalised for a scuffle in the box. Iceland breathes.
0 min | Peeeeeeep! And we're underway. Can Iceland spring the shock of the century? Let's see...My guess is no. Sorry Iceland.
Here're the anthems. Iceland with a particularly sombre number. France's 'La Marseillaise' has to be the best in the world though doesn't it? Maybe, beside the Welsh's rousing 'Land of My Fathers' that is.
The players walk out, and the rain thunders down! What conditions...I bet the Icelanders are loving the cold wet rain, though.
The teams are in!
France XI: Lloris; Evra, Umtiti, Koscielny, Sagna; Pogba, Matuidi; Sissoko, Payet, Griezmann, Giroud.
Subs: Mandanda, Costil, Jallet, Cabaye, Ginac, Martial, Schneiderlin, Mangala, Digne, Coman.
Iceland XI: Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Sigurdsson, Gudmundsson, Bjarnason, Sigthórsson, Arnason, Bodvarsson, Skúlason
Subs: Kristinsson, Jónsson, Hauksson, Hermannsson, Ingason, Finnbogason, Sigurjónsson, Bjarnason, Magnússon, Hallfredsson, Trautason, Gudjohnsen
Welcome to our live, online coverage of tonight's Euro 2016 quarter final between tournament hosts France and Iceland The match kicks off at 21.00 hour CEST from Stade de France in Paris.
The hosts, who have enjoyed a relatively accessible path up until this stage, probably wopuldn't still be in the competition if it wasn't for the superb, ever-dependable Antoine Griezmann. 'The Little Prince' popped to decide France's game against the Republic of Ireland with a brace and set up this evening's meeting - one against an heroic Iceland who have captured everyone's imagination at Euro 2016. After sending England packing, they will be looking to make history in what has been a dream, maiden tournament. Sunday 3 July at 21:00 hours, Stade de France, Paris.
These two nations have met 11 times prior to this game, with France winning eight and the other three ending level.
The man holding the whistle and making sure everyone behaves tonight is Holland's Björn Kuipers.
Didier Deschamps has everyone fit but will be without Adul Rami and N'Golo Kanté who are serving suspensions as they take on Euro 2016's lovable long-shots. France have been slow burners matches to date -resolving their meetings with Romania and Albania in the final minute while every goal they have scored has come in the second half, on the hour mark or after. Three of them have been the work of Antoine Griezmann, the tournament's joint top scorer. 'The Little Prince' has been France's top performer and West Ham's Dimitri Payet has been equally superb. Providing the muscle in the centre of the park will be Pogba and Matuidi serán los encargados de llevar el peso del equipo.
Iceland go into the quarter finals knowing that all eyes will be on them - not that they care, they are absolutely loving this. As are their fans, scores of supporters made their way to Paris over the weekend just for this match. And coach Heimir Hallgrimsson has a fully fit squad to select his XI - a standard, no-nonsense 4-4-2 set-up which has done the job so far. No changes are expected from him on tonight's team sheet.