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France vs Iceland – Match Preview

Tonight sees the last Euro 2016 quarter final take place and we will see who will complete the semi final line up. Hosts France take on surprise package Iceland and the winners will go on to meet current World Champions Germany

Iceland were the talk of the footballing world on Monday night after beating England 2-1, that performance was no fluke though as the Three Lions were toothless in Nice. A result which would go on to mean the end of Roy Hodgson’s reign as England manager

Can lightning strike twice for Iceland though. Firstly you would imagine that there is no way that France can play as bad as England did on Monday so if Lars Lagerback is going to mastermind another win then Iceland are going to have to be at their absolute best.

That said the Icelanders are still unbeaten in this tournament and have already held Portugal to a draw in their first game, add that to wins against Austria and England and optimism will rightly be high in the Icelandic camp

If they are to move onto the Semi Finals then they will have to get past a France side who still aren’t playing as pre-tournament favourites. They had to become from behind to beat the Republic Of Ireland last Sunday and if it wasn’t for Jonathan Griezmann in this tournament then they would be facing a very different outlook.

It was his brace of goals that turned their Round of 16 game around and booked their place in the quarters. The Atletico Madrid had a particularly impressive second half in that game and would have scored a hat-trick had Shane Duffy not hauled him down outside the box.

It seems as if Didier Deschamps still can’t get all his stars firing on all cylinders at the same time. It was Kingsley Coman who had to make do with a spot on the bench last time and once France rolled the dice in the second half and bought Coman on they looked a much better side but Paul Pogba is still not quite living up to a supposed £80m transfer fee level of performances

Didier Deschamps also has the added issue of both Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante being ruled out through suspension. With France already light at centre back then this could be a weakness for Iceland to expose, especially with their long throws.

Does Kingsley Coman then get a start in place of Kante, you would imagine that would once again be a very gung-ho midfield and I would be surprised if Deschamps lays all his cards out from the start. I would imagine Moussa Sissoko to be drafted in for Kante instead

France haven’t really played well for 90 minutes so far but that final 45 minutes against the Republic of Ireland was probably the best football of the tournament so far for them if they can pick up from that point then I can’t see Iceland causing them any problems. I don’t think France will freeze tonight and they will progress to the Semi’s and set up a tie against Germany.

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