One space left in the Quarter Finals – will it be heartbreak for the hosts or yet MORE history for the Icelanders.
The hosts are through after a come from behind victory against a spirited Republic of Ireland side. After a very disjointed first half performance, credit has to be given to be given to manager Didier Deschamps as he changed the system and dominated the Irish after the break and the final result should have been much more comfortable than it was as they missed a number of chances and especially as their opponents played with 10 men for most of the second half. The most important thing is they are through and whilst their defence looked shaky the match highlighted the attacking options at Deschamps disposal. Enforced changes are needed for this quarter final with Kante and Rami suspended but as already been shown they will be able to cope.
So standing in their way is Iceland, yes Iceland. They showed heart, tactical nous and battle (though not as much as they probably expected they would need) to beat an insipid England side 1-2 in their Round of 16 game. Their tactics are pretty standard keep things tight, hit on the break and focus on the set piece opportunities, and after going a goal down came back to take the lead and held on comfortably and fully deserved their victory. Massive congratulations for a country with tiny population compared to the rest of the teams. Ronaldo criticised them after Portugal drew against them in their opening match and now they are both in the last eight – last laugh on Ronny me thinks, whatever happens now. Iceland will head to the Stade de France with no fear, they will be looking to disrupt the hosts rhythm, frustrate and put them under pressure. They are strong, committed and under the tutelage of joint manager Lars Lagerback, there will be a game plan.
I think Iceland’s amazing run will come to an end here. France are most definitely not England and though Iceland will frustrate the hosts and have already shown they can battle when necessary with their own come from behind victory over Ireland in the previous round. France to win comfortably in the end 3-0, though I expect the goals to come in the second half.
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