Another knockout match at the Euros, and yet another penalty shootout. But boy, what a series of penalties it was yesterday between Germany and Italy. The Azzurri tied the game on a Leo Bonucci penalty in the 78th minute, and then the back-and-forth series of penalty shots that followed extra time was truly wild. Ultimately, it was the Germans who deservedly prevailed, but you can’t fault the heart and effort of Italy. Many considered this to be a down year for them, but they stuck to coach Antonio Conte’s game-plan, and nearly ended up in the semis. The Germans meanwhile, look poised to capture a title and should be keeping a keen eye on the last quarter-final match today, between the hosts France, and the cinderella story of Iceland. The winner from today’s match will take on Germany in the semis on June 7th.
For France vs. Iceland, it truly is a story of David vs. Goliath. France is the host country, riddled with talent, and though they haven’t always shown it in this tournament, they entered as the favourites to win. Iceland meanwhile was a complete wildcard. They’re just a nation of over 300,000 people and though this is their Golden Generation of soccer players within their country, a showing this good couldn’t have been dreamt about. Last week they disposed of a talented England side in impressive fashion, coming back from a deficit, and then holding it for 70 minutes. They defend well and are well-organized, and it should make for some fascinating scenes as France battle Iceland, with a semi-final berth on the line. We’ve got you betting needs covered on this quarter-final Sunday. Read on below for a full game breakdown and official selection for France vs. Iceland.
France vs. Iceland Betting Odds:
France -1 (-135)
Iceland +1 (+115)
Over 2.5 (+100)
Under 2.5 (-120)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
France vs. Iceland Pick:
For Iceland to even get this far at Euro 2016, is truly a remarkable feat that nobody could have predicted. They’ve been doing it with great team shape, defense, and organization. Iceland defends tirelessly, and then has the skill and pace to push the ball forward and counter aggressively to catch their opponents napping. It worked last week against the English, but you really have to wonder if their dreams come to a final halt against a France squad that finally seems to be rounding into form. After a sluggish/nervy start to hosting the tournament for Les Bleus, the French have really started to impress once again. They went down early to Ireland in their round of 16 match, before storming back to absolutely dominate the final 85 minutes. Spurred on by their legions of home fans, the French are clearly back, and if they play to their full abilities, Iceland’s hard work and shape will prove futile against the skill and talent of France.
France enters this match with some personnel concerns, as Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante are both suspended on accumulation of yellow cards. The French are deep though and should be able to fill that void on the defensive side. Against Ireland, it all started to click up front for France. They are a remarkable attacking side and you could see the partnership of Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud was starting to work well together. With Paul Pogba just behind them as a central attacking midfielder, the link-up plays and distribution was top-notch. Iceland doesn’t really have anyone within the centre of the field that can stay with that trio and contain them over the course of 90 minutes.
As far as Iceland are concerned – they’ve already won their championship by making it this far. They’re a group that plays well together, but really cannot and simply do not stack up with the talent France possesses. France has the skill to break down their defensive scheme and generate shots, and chances throughout the match. They’re much more creative than England in the final third, and won’t make the silly mistakes England did. It has been a very impressive run for Iceland, and though they’ll put up a great fight against the host side, there’s just too much depth of skill and talent for the French not to prevail in front of their home fans. Look for a comfortable France victory, as the dream fades for Iceland.
PICK = France -1 (-135)