SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE — The Icelandic thunderclap roar proved no match for the sheer talent of France as the hosts finally showed their title credentials at the European Championship on Sunday.
A crushing 5-2 victory lined up a semifinal with Germany as France displayed the attacking ruthlessness that had been missing in its previous four games at the tournament.
France striker Olivier Giroud netted twice for the host, opening the scoring in the 12th minute and netting the fifth in the 59th.
“We have a lot of desire to get our own back for what happened at the World Cup,” Olivier said of the quarterfinal loss to eventual champion Germany two years ago.
At halftime, France was leading 4-0, with goals from Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann.
The second half saw both Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Birkir Saevarsson score for Iceland, ensuring this would not be an embarrassing exit for one of the tournament’s surprise teams.
France will play Germany on Thursday in Marseille.
Giroud, who was booed by the team’s fans in May, is proving to be an essential component of Les Bleus, netting the opener and heading in France’s fifth goal at the Stade de France.
Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann also scored in the first half for the home side, whose previous goals at Euro 2016 had all come after the break.
The Iceland defense was breached with ease in the 12th minute when Blaise Matuidi lofted over a high pass into the path of the advancing Giroud, who clinically shot through the legs of goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson.
Then, Pogba soared above Jon Dadi Bodvarsson to meet Griezmann’s corner and send a powerful header into the top corner in the 20th.
Worse was to come for the Icelanders with quick-fire goals inside two minutes before halftime.
Moussa Sissoko’s cross was headed down by Giroud and Griezmann knocked the ball into the path to Payet, who drilled a low shot in the corner of the net.
The fourth goal saw Giroud and Griezmann combine again. Griezmann raced onto Giroud’s flick-on before dinking a shot over the advancing Halldorsson.
However, just like its raucous fans, Iceland wasn’t done.
PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team
KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.
PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.
Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.