Iceland’s fairytale run at the European Championship came to a crushing end as they were beaten by hosts France 5-2 at the Stadium of France here on Sunday.
Iceland, who shocked England 2-1 in their last match, found themselves behind after only 12 minutes through a goal from France striker Olivier Giroud. The Arsenal player ran behind the Iceland back four onto a long pass from Blaise Matuidi and fired it low past keeper Hannes Halldorsson with his left foot.
Paul Pogba doubled France’s lead eight minutes later by jumping highest to power home a header from the corner.
Two minutes before the interval, France pulled ahead with four goals.
Dimitri Payet scored his third goal of the tournament in the 43rd minute when he received the ball from Antoine Griezmann, dragged the ball onto his left and drilled it across the keeper into the bottom right corner.
In the 45th minute, Griezmann scored the fourth by himself, running onto the dummy from Giroud and lifting the ball over the advancing Halldorsson.
Iceland settled down from the first half panic and pulled one back in the 56th minute through forward Kolbeinne Sigthorsson, who stabbed home his second of the tournament from a world-class Gylfi Sigurdsson cross.
But Giroud made it 5-1 three minutes later with a header.
Iceland, the smallest country in history to have compete in a major tournament, refused to throw in the towel. And their efforts paid off in the 84th minute when Birkir Bjarnason nodded in Ari Skulason’s far-post cross into the bottom corner. It was too late and too little but they can still leave the tournament with head held high.