France to end Iceland fairytale: Euro 2016 bettingPublished July 3, 2016
After Iceland unceremoniously dumped England out of the European Championships, many thought there was little more disgrace than to be beaten by a nation of only a few hundred thousand people. The statistic that many latched onto was that the population of Iceland was akin to that of the city of Leicester.
Many in the Iceland camp liked the comparison. Not so much because of the population equivalency, but because Leicester City upset the footballing world by winning the English Premiership with a team lacking any household names at the beginning of the season but a group of hard working players that were able to beat the odds.
Many shouldn’t have been so shocked by Iceland as they came second in their Euro qualifying group and defeated The Netherlands home and away.
When they drew with Portugal in the opening game, most were preoccupied by Cristiano Ronaldo’s poor response on social media rather than the solid performance of the Icelanders who could even have won the game. They drew the second game 1-1 with Hungary before securing their first ever victory in a 2-1 dramatic win over Austria.
However, nothing prepared European football for their shock 2-1 victory over England. This put the tiny nation on everyone’s radar and demonstrated that they are t be taken seriously.
France, the hosts, remain most bookmakers favourites to lift the trophy, even though they have yet to hit top gear yet. Out of their three wins so far, only one, the 2-0 against Albania, has been by more than one goal. In fact, their 2-1 wins against Romania, in the opening game, and against the Republic of Ireland in the last round, were hardly impressive team performances.
It could be argued that French manager Didier Deschamps does not know his best side, especially in the attacking positions, where he has tried different formations and personnel in most of the games. Although playing Olivier Giroud up front with Antoine Griezmann playing off him appeared to work quite well against the Irish, it was still far from an accomplished attacking performance won against a team who had to play the last 24 minutes with ten men.