Olivier Giroud netted a brace as France blitzed Iceland 5-2 on Sunday night, to set up a blockbuster Euro 2016 semifinal clash against world champions Germany.
Giroud opened the scoring after just 12 minutes at the Stade de France and the hosts completely took charge from then on, as Paul Pogba headed his first goal of the tournament before Antoine Griezmann fed Dimitri Payet to score the third and then made a brilliant chip to become the tournament’s top scorer on four goals.
Iceland put on a spirited fight back in the second period with deserved goals from Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Birkir Bjarnason, but Giroud’s towering header ensured the result was never in doubt.
France coach Didier Deschamps introduced defenders Samuel Umtiti and Moussa Sissoko to the starting XI for the suspended duo, Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante respectively, and the result was an intense start as Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson had to smother Payet’s early effort at the second attempt, before Giroud raced onto Blaise Matuidi’s floated ball over the defence to drill home the opener.
It got worse for Lars Lagerback’s side 20 minutes later as Griezmann’s right-wing corner found a leaping Pogba who powered in his first goal of the European Championship.
The in-form Giroud then knocked down a cross to Griezmann, who set up Payet for a low angled shot that whistled into the far corner two minutes before the break.
Griezmann, running the show from a central position, grabbed France’s fourth on the stroke of the interval, running onto Giroud’s pass and finishing with a delightful dink over Halldorsson.
Sigthorsson got on the scoresheet for the second straight game
England slayer Sigthorsson scored for the second game running after poking in Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross on 56 minutes, but France replied almost instantly with Giroud beating Halldorsson to a Payet free-kick just before the Arsenal striker was withdrawn.
Iceland grabbed a second goal when Bjarnason headed in Ari Skulason’s cross on 84 minutes as their fairytale run ended in Paris.
Les Blues will take on Germany in Marseille on Thursday for a place in the final.