The quarterfinal stage of the Euro 2016 tournament in France concludes on Sunday, July 3rd with host nation France taking on Iceland at the Stade de France in Paris. The winning nation will carry on to the semifinals while the loser will be packing its bags and heading home. If the game is even after 90 minutes it will go to 30 minutes of extra time. If it’s still tied, it will then be decided by a penalty shootout. Iceland is seeking its first European Championship while France was crowned winners in 1984 at home and again in 2000 in Holland.
France vs Iceland – 5Dimes Soccer Betting Line:
- 5Dimes currently lists France as the favorite to win in 90 minutes at -233 with Iceland +848 and a draw at +368
France vs Iceland – Head to Head:
- France and Iceland last met in a friendly in May of 2012 with France winning 3-2 at home. The two sides have met just 11 times in the past with France going unbeaten with eight wins and three draws. The last draw was a 1-1 result in Iceland in a Euro 2000 qualifier in September of 1998.
France – A Closer Look:
France is currently ranked number 17 in the world by FIFA. The hosts kicked off the tournament and Group A by beating 22nd-ranked Romania 2-1 on a late goal. They followed that up with a 2-0 victory over 42nd-ranked Albania with another pair of last-minute markers. Their final group match came against 15th-ranked Switzerland and the two teams played to a 0-0 draw. The French topped what was seen as the easiest group in the tournament with seven points while Switzerland finished second, Albania third and Romania last. France has outscored their opposition 6-2 in the tournament with all of the team’s goals coming in the second half of their matches with three of them coming at 90 minutes or later.
Both goals against came on penalty shots. Striker Antoine Griezmann has been leading the way for France with three goals so far to tie for the tournament lead. France went on to beat the Republic of Ireland 2-1 in the round of 16 after falling behind 1-0 in the second minute. However, Ireland was down to 10 men in the second half. France was knocked out by Spain at Euro 2012 and still haven’t looked their best as of yet in Euro 2016 despite their record. The French will be without midfielder N’Golo Kante and defender Adil Rami against Iceland as they both have one-game suspensions due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
Iceland – A Closer Look:
Iceland is currently ranked number 34 in the world by FIFA. They played in Group F against eighth-ranked Portugal, 10th-ranked Austria and 20th-ranked Hungary. They went unbeaten with a win and two draws to tie Hungary at five points. Hungary took first place though on goal differential as they scored six and allowed four while Iceland scored four and conceded three. Iceland managed a 1-1 draw with Portugal in their opening match and a 1-1 draw against Hungary after allowing the equalizer late in the game on an own goal. Iceland then edged Austria 2-1 in their group finale with a last-second goal. Austria also missed a penalty kick in that match.
Iceland managed to reach Euro 2016 by finishing as runners up to the Czech Republic in their qualifying group. They finished ahead of Turkey, Holland, Kazakhstan and Latvia and beat Holland both home and away. This is Iceland’s first appearance at a major soccer tournament and they continued their giant-killing ways on Monday with a 2-1 upset over England. They fell behind on a fourth-minute penalty shot by Wayne Rooney, but tied the game a just a minute later. Iceland then took the lead in the 18th minute and hung on for the win.
France vs Iceland – Takeaway:
The winner of this match will take on the winner of the Germany vs Italy contest which is being held the next day. The winners will then meet on Thursday, July 7th in Marseille in the second semifinal.
By Ian Palmer