Analysis: All eyes on Griezmann as France finally put everything together

Les Blues triumphed with their most convincing display at Euro 2016 so far.

Analysis: All eyes on Griezmann as France finally put everything together
Kissing the boot of the night, Payet cleans Griezmann's left foot (photo: Reuters)

France delivered their most convincing performance yet at Euro 2016 on Sunday, blowing Iceland away by five goals to two, setting up a semi-final clash with Germany in the process. 

Four home goals came in the first half, Olivier Giroud opening the scoring briefly before Paul Pogba doubled the lead. Iceland had hoped to make it to half-time with just two on the scoreboard, but Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann put pay to that with two strikes just before the interval.

Iceland rallied hard, as they have done throughout the tournament, with two second half goals sandwiched by another Giroud strike, meaning they ended with a cheer from their travelling support. 

Griezmann the best of the best with spellbinding performance

Should France go onto win Euro 2016, Didier Deschamps' decision to bench Antoine Griezmann in the second group game may be looked on as a stroke of genius, or an act of stupidity in dropping his finest player.

Griezmann certainly looked to be France's finest on the night, scoring one and setting another two in the first half. He wasn't involved in the first, a fine finish by Giroud, but crossed nicely for Pogba to head in the second, before showing a certain unselfishness to lay the ball off to Payet as Les Blues went three ahead.

He had barely finished celebrating that third goal with his teammates when he found himself through on goal with a chance to make it four, but that didn't make a difference, lifting the ball over the 'keeper with a calm head. 

That took his tally to four for the tournament, a total matched by nobody else, whilst those two assists weren't too shabby either. 

Griezmann's goal was pure quality (photo: Getty Images)
Griezmann's goal was pure quality (photo: Getty Images)

Payet, Pogba, Giroud all play their parts

It wasn't only Griezmann though, with Giroud bagging a brace, whilst Payet shone again. The inclusion of the Arsenal striker as France's main frontman was a controverisal one, but the right one on the night as a cool finish early on opened the waterworks, before his header from a free-kick restored calm just after Iceland's consolation.

The man who crossed that free-kick in was Payet, who was excellent again on the left, causing the Iceland defence all kinds of trouble as he drifted inside. His third goal of the competition came in typical fashion, from the outside of the box. He's now scored two from outside the area during the past few weeks, something that nobody else has done from open play. 

Payet scored from outside the box, again... (photo: Reuters)
Payet scored from outside the box, again... (photo: Reuters)

A mention must go to Pogba too, anchoring the midfield with an measure of calmness in the absence of N'Golo Kante. His ability to see everything ahead of him helped France break down the Icelandic wall, and his powerful header meant that the minnows were always going to have a huge amount of work to do in order to salvage anything.

Umtiti in, the right decision

With Adil Rami suspended following his second yellow card of the tournament, much was made over the decision that Deschamps had to make regarding whether to pick Samuel Umtiti or Eliaquim Mangala to replace him.

Umtiti, as expected by many, was the chosen one, making his first appearance for France in the quarter-finals of a major international tournament. 

You'd have been forgiven for expecting to see a nervousness in his play, based on that, but you'd have been wrong. Umtiti was as cool as a cucumber, especially in the first half - completing 51/51 passes. 

He was on the pitch for the first goal that went in against his side, but it didn't matter by then, with the hard work having been done in preventing any early rally by Iceland. Umtiti was the right decision, and with Mangala getting a 20 minute run out, it worked well for all involved.

Germany up next, on a whole different level

France will be buoyed with confidence going into Thursday's semi-final against the Germans, although they'll rest safe in the knowledge that they'll face a test on a completely different level to the teams that they've played so far.

France have gone into every single game so far as overwhelming favourites, and may edge it for some bookies ahead of the last four tie, but it will be by no means straightforward.

Many expect the winners of that game to capture the whole thing, so Les Blues might want to up their game once more.