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France v Iceland Euro 2016 Preview: Can underdogs Iceland continue fairytale run?

Ross Aylward 30 Jun 2016
  • France take on Iceland in the last quarter-final showdown of Euro 2016
  • Can underdogs Iceland continue their fairytale run by toppling the hosts?
  • France are firm favourites to progress to the semi-finals
Iceland caused one of the greatest shocks in football history by sending England crashing out

Iceland are aiming to continue their fairytale run at Euro 2016 as they look to add hosts France to their list of scalps in the quarter-finals at Stade de France.

The tournament debutants completed one of the greatest upsets in football history on Monday, as goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson helped them come from behind to send England crashing out in Nice.

Under the watchful eyes of Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson, the Icelandics have impressed everyone at the tournament with their defensive solidarity, hard work and fantastic team ethic, while the raucous support from their fans is enough to intimidate any opposing side.

Having already held Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal to a 1-1 draw, they finished second in Group F courtesy of Arnor Traustason’s dramatic stoppage-time winner against Austria and have not looked back since.

Eliminating the hosts in their own backyard would send even more shockwaves throughout the tournament. The French will have been pleased to avoid England in the Last Eight, but are arguably under more pressure as a result of Iceland’s heroics.

Buoyed by their home support, late goals against Romania and Albania helped Les Bleus top Group A and they showed great character to come from behind against Republic of Ireland in the Last 16, as Antoine Griezmann’s double saw them over the line.

With the quality in their ranks, Didier Deschamps’ men should have more than enough to book their place in the semi- finals and they are odds-on favourites to do so.

On his day, Griezmann has the ability to unlock any defence with his pace, movement and innovation. The Atletico Madrid forward showed this by providing the late breakthrough against Albania and turning the match on its head against the Irish.

The underdogs will not roll over too easily, however. With Gylfi Sigurdsson pulling the strings in the number 10 role, they too have plenty of attacking threats of their own.

Not only that but France’s defence looked vulnerable against Ireland and, with Adil Rami suspended, they will be forced to introduce either Eliaquim Mangala or Samuel Umtiti for the first time in this tournament so Both Teams to Score is certainly worth a punt.



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France v Iceland Euro 2016 Preview: Can underdogs Iceland continue fairytale run?

Iceland are aiming to continue their fairytale run at Euro 2016 as they look to add hosts France to their list of scalps in the quarter-finals at Stade de France.

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