Oliver Giroud, Antoine Griezmann earn 9/10 in convincing win versus Iceland
France well and truly arrived at their own party on Sunday, blowing surprise package Iceland away 5-2 at Stade de France to reach the 2016 UEFA European Championship semifinals in style.
After recovering from 1-0 down to beat the Republic of Ireland 2-1 in the round of 16, Didier Deschamps' men had provided a taste of what was to come in Saint-Denis.
Les Bleus lined up in the same 4-2-3-1 formation that saw them fight back to beat the Irish, with only Adil Rami and N'Golo Kante missing through suspension, and it worked from the off.
Olivier Giroud opened the scoring after 12 minutes and went on to add another in the second half, while Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann were all on target before half-time.
Iceland outscored the hosts in the second 45, scoring twice to Giroud's headed effort for the French, but it was not enough, and the two-time winners advance to face Germany in Marseille, France, on Thursday.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Hugo Lloris, 6 -- Well-beaten by both Iceland goals, the captain could not do much about either effort. Aside from those two strikes, the Tottenham Hotspur shot-stopper did not have too much to do.
DF Bacary Sagna, 5 -- Moussa Sissoko did most of the attacking on the right, and with France pushing more for goals than Iceland, particularly in the first half, Sagna was mostly left with defensive duties to take care of.
DF Laurent Koscielny, 6 -- Substituted in the 72nd minute once the result was beyond all doubt, the Arsenal defender avoided a booking, so he will be able to face Germany in the semis. The 30-year-old was calm and collected alongside debutant Samuel Umtiti.
DF Samuel Umtiti, 5 -- As far as senior international debuts go, this one went well. Although not at his usual Olympique Lyonnais best, the 22-year-old was still largely composed and a solid presence at the back. However, Umtiti did pick up a late yellow card.
DF Patrice Evra, 5 -- It was not the Juventus left-back's finest performance, but his job was already done by the time the team took to the Stade de France pitch. The 35-year-old former captain ensured his teammates were up for the match with an impassioned speech during the warm-up.
MF Paul Pogba, 7 -- After looking better in the second half against Ireland than he did in the first, the Juventus star put in a showing that has arguably only been bettered by his first half against Switzerland. The 23-year-old was able to leap into the air to head in Les Bleus' second. Now one of the players who was hyped pretournament is starting to deliver.
MF Blaise Matuidi, 8 -- After some below-par displays so far this summer, the Paris Saint-Germain all-rounder finally hit form against Iceland. Matuidi's pass for Giroud to score the opener was sensational, and he worked extremely hard for the whole 90 minutes.
MF Moussa Sissoko, 6 -- Preferred over Kingsley Coman from the start, Sissoko did not give as much in attack, but he added an energetic and physical presence on the right and got forward as often as he could.
MF Antoine Griezmann, 9 -- Deployed in the attacking midfield position behind Giroud to keep him close to the Arsenal man, Griezmann continued his excellent recent form. The Atletico Madrid star provided two assists and took his goal, France's fourth, extremely well to move into the lead for the competition's Golden Boot.
MF Dimitri Payet, 8 -- After a quiet outing against Ireland, the West Ham United gem returned to form against Iceland with a goal and an assist. Payet's finish came in spectacular style from distance after a nice lay-off pass from Griezmann.
FW Olivier Giroud, 9 -- Having done everything but score against the Irish, Giroud was rewarded for his perseverance here. The Arsenal target man opened the scoring with a clinical finish and scored his second with an easy header. It was also the 29-year-old who assisted Griezmann for his goal.
FW Andre-Pierre Gignac, 4 -- Sent on to replace Giroud after 60 minutes, it was a disappointing performance from the Tigres UANL star, who has struggled for form at the tournament.
DF Eliaquim Mangala, NR -- Even though he was only given 18 minutes at the end, he still had enough time to make an important clearance off the line.
MF Kingsley Coman, NR -- Given the final 10 minutes, the Bayern Munich starlet's pace was an issue for the weary Icelandic defence.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.