France 4-0 Iceland
Les Bleus put on another scintillating display at the Stade de France, blowing away a dogged Iceland team to go top of Group H.
It’s the second time in four days Didier Deschamps’ side has scored four goals and they are already looking like the favourites for Euro 2020.
Samuel Umtiti put the World Champions ahead and Erik Hamren’s Iceland didn’t really have an answer. They were dead and buried once Olivier Giroud converted the team’s second.
Les Bleus look like the team to beat, though it shouldn’t escape anyone’s notice that World Cup semi-finalists England also hit five for the second time in a week
Highlights of the game
Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring France’s 2nd goal during the Euro 2020 qualifying match against Iceland
We expected the flair football to come from the hosts and for Iceland to dig in. That was exactly the pattern from the off as France passed the ball around with comfort, probing the Icelandic defence. And it only took 12 minutes for their bright opening to pay dividends.
A spectacular volley from Antoine Griezmann set Les Bleus on their way in Moldova. Their opener against Iceland was a more conventional goal but equally well-executed.
Kylian Mbappe took a long ball from Benjamin Pavard in stride and whipped in a superb cross for Samuel Umtiti, who glanced a header low into the corner of the net.
That was a nice moment for Umtiti, who has had a rough season. The big centre-back has struggled with injury and wants to get back to his best with Barcelona.
Iceland had a chance to equalise almost immediately, but when Gylfi Sigurdsson connected on a flick-on, he could only loop his header up into Hugo Lloris’ hands.
At the other end, Hannes Halldorsson made a brilliant save to tip over a header from Olivier Giroud. Mbappe also came close midway through the first half but fired just wide.
Blaise Matuidi had a gold-plated chance to double France’s lead before the break, but he headed wide despite being in acres of space.
Lloris was called into action at the start of the second period, getting down well to save a fierce long-range drive from Birkir Bjarnason.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Pavard came close to replicating his stunning World Cup strike against Argentina. However, his shot flew just wide. Minutes later, Griezmann jinked his way to the edge of the Iceland box but blasted his shot way over the bar.
Pavard then became provider as France finally had some breathing space. The full-back raced down the right flank and fired in a wicked cross which Giroud beat Halldorsson to and diverted the ball home.
The Chelsea striker almost doubled his tally minutes later as he slid the ball home. But unfortunately for him, he was just offside.
It was all France at that point. Griezmann found Mbappe with a superb through ball, and the PSG man nudged the ball home off the inside of the post.
The roles were reversed in another moment of class as Mbappe put Griezmann through with a clever backheel and the Atleti man coolly converted … as you’d expect!
1X2 Draw @ 3.15 Switzerland Asian Handicap -0.25 @ 1.93 Over 2.00 @ 1.87CLICK HEREDisclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.UEFA EURO 2020
With the France vs Iceland odds stacked in favour of the home win, us Asian Handicap sports betting was always the best way to play this game. France dominated the opening 45 minutes with 77 per cent possession and seven shots to two.
That pattern continued with a final shot count of 15 to four. Les Bleus were ruthless in the second half, ending Iceland’s four-match unbeaten run. The Icelanders have failed to beat France in 12 attempts so they shouldn’t have been surprised by the result!
Olivier Giroud also became France’s third top scorer of all-time, having reached 35 goals. He is now right behind two French greats in Thierry Henry and Michel Platini.
The early Euro 2020 results have just confirmed that France is a worthy World Champion.
Les Bleus have two away trips coming up in June in contrasting venues. First, they’ll be welcomed by a red-hot atmosphere in Turkey, where the hosts have some of the most hostile fans in world football. Turkey have won their first two qualifying games and won’t give France an easy ride.
And then it’s back up to the Spanish border, where Didier Deschamps’ team will play in the small principality of Andorra. That will be a little calmer.
Iceland, on the other hand, have two home games next: first against Albania and then against Turks, whom they will welcome to their own patch with the Viking Thunderclap.
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