Published: Tue, July 12, 2016
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Host France ends Iceland's underdog run at European Championships

Olivier Giroud scored two goals for France, turning pre-tournament jeers into a standing ovation against Iceland.

France coach Didier Deschamps might have been anxious, though, by the way Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Birkir Bjarnason exposed France's defensive frailties with two second-half goals.

Giroud was quick to pay tribute to Iceland, the revelation of the European Championship after their 2-1 victory over England. "They fought with valor, they were very determined", the Arsenal striker said.

"It's just awesome. I couldn't believe it when they first called to inform me that I was the victor".

Giroud, who has often being criticised for not being a smooth finisher, has scored three goals in the tournament so far.

"It's amusing that we lost 5-2 and all the French fans had gone home yet still the Icelandic fans were there cheering the team on, and that's fantastic". So semi final of Euro Cup 2016 is going to be excellent and we are going to see 3 more great games. "They're the reigning world champions and one of the best sides at the European Championship".

But France captain Hugo Lloris feels neither that match nor those which have gone before in the current tournament will have a bearing on Thursday's encounter in Marseille. According to Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið, local side Stjarnan first witnessed the chant on their Europa League visit to Fir Park in 2014.

"From my perspective I am pleased, no more than that. They had a few problems against Italy, but Germany are Germany". "But we are there in the final four and we'll give it our all", said Deschamps.

Olivier Giroud ended the Iceland fairytale on Sunday as his Puma evoPOWERs sent Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and his Nike Tiempos home at the quarter-final stage of Euro 2016.

However, the Rapid Vienna midfielder - who scored the victor in their 2-1 group stage victory over Austria - insisted defeat should not diminish Iceland's pride at making their mark.

It took less than a quarter hour for France to make the breakthrough.

The opener came after 12 minutes from a hopeful long ball which found Giroud with acres of space to run through and then drive a low finish beneath keeper Hannes Halldorsson. At the end of a rather miserable night for them, the game was not won but respect sure was! He said Griezmann's pass for his goal had been "a gift".

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