Dimitri Payet hails France Euro 2016 performance as best yet

France's two star players dominate the player of the tournament betting with early game-changer Payet edging favouritism at 100-30 from the fast-finishing Griezmann, who is 11-2. France, who had not previously scored a first-half goal at the tournament, seized the advantage on 12 minutes: Arsenal striker Giroud fired a shot through Iceland keeper Hannes Halldorsson's legs after Blaise Matuidi had sent a pass over the top from close to the halfway line.

Olivier Giroud remarkably claimed that France can not be "confident" ahead of Thursday's Euro 2016 semi-final against Germany after his two goals in Paris secured a 5-2 quarter-final victory against Iceland.

For Iceland, a revved-up France team, packed with attacking talent and aggressive running, proved a game too far, but they leave their first major tournament with their heads held high.

"He had a hard start to the competition after the end of his season, he was a bit exhausted". "I'm thinking about the team and the objectives of the game".

"Now, he is fine". "He's a very efficient player and is excellent technically. There are still some things we need to work and we'll do that all together but yes, we are feeling good".

"I will take the time to reflect on it", Deschamps said.

"I am not the only one to change".

"I'm not going to put any pressure on Joachim Low".

"They are the best team in Europe and in the world and the only ones totally controlling the situation, with technical quality everywhere, from the goalkeeper to the forwards", Deschamps said. In general, it is they who have possession of the ball.

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"But of course it was for us not just about football".

"Are we confident (about playing Germany)?

They fought with valour, they were very determined", said France forward Olivier Giroud.

"It will be a totally different match", he said. Though his central defence is vulnerable, Deschamps has a midfield to match the smooth syncopations of Germany, with Paul Pogba starting to develop a Patrick Vieira-type leadership role.

But at least by making Iceland look ordinary, and England even worse since the islanders made them appear clueless in their 2-1 last 16 loss, France finally look like the favourites many expected when the tournament started.

"It will be at the Velodrome, at home, in what could be a heated atmosphere".

But inspirational chants and a strong team ethic only take a team so far.

"It is not over, we want to continue this adventure".

  • Erica Roy