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Iceland never gave up


Iceland are out. They will not go on to win Euro 2016 in the same way that Leicester won the Premier League, but they do leave with our admiration and gratitude. France took care of the result in the first half, heading into the dressing room at half-time 4-0 ahead, but Iceland did not fold. They are true sportsmen. Their play in the second half went from strength to strength, scoring two goals and they forced their hosts onto the back foot. They will live in our memories. They have made their country happy, until now a nation more fond of handball, and one memory among many is that of the Gunnarsson throw-ins, a rustic and effective way to threaten the goal.

Aron Gunnarsson preparing for a throw-in against France.
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Aron Gunnarsson preparing for a throw-in against France.ETIENNE LAURENTEFE

At least they had the taste of winning that second period 2-1, after being four down from the first half. France will now face Germany in the semi-final. The hosts are having a good championship, with the cunning fox that is Griezmann (who scored beautifully last night) and Pogba as the engine driving the team forward. A couple of years ago Del Piero spoke to our reporter Marco Ruiz in an interview for AS saying that Pogba would turn into the top man in Europe: "he has the physique of a top NBA player". And yes, he does, and he uses it. His goal from the corner was devastating. He has many attributes but still others to learn.

Paul Pogba heads France's second goal.
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Paul Pogba heads France's second goal.FRANCK FIFEAFP

Let us now look to the outcomes of the Euros. We have the semi-finals on Wednesday and Thursday, Portugal-Wales and France-Germany. Seeing the route that Spain could have had up until that Perisic goal just makes it more annoying. But we still have a clear interest in these last few games with some key focus. Bale, Cristiano, Pepe and André Gomes in one semi-final. Kroos, Mustafi, Griezmann, Rami and Umtiti (if he plays) in the other. It is not La Roja, but it is LaLiga to a considerable extent. Another focus is Pogba, someone Real Madrid will be keeping close tabs on.

Gareth Bale will be looking forward to reuniting with club teammate Cristiano.
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Gareth Bale will be looking forward to reuniting with club teammate Cristiano.Stu ForsterGetty Images