World champions thrash Iceland

PARIS, March 26

Olivier Giroud once again proved his reliability for France, netting his 35th international goal as the world champions demolished Iceland 4-0 at home on Monday in their second Euro 2020 qualifier.

Giroud, now alone in third place on France’s all-time scoring list, added to Samuel Umtiti’s early opener in the second half before Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann rounded off a routine win to put France on six points in Group H.

Turkey, who will face Les Bleus in June, emerged as France’s main rivals in the group when they thrashed Moldova 4-0 thanks to a Cenk Tosun double after beating Albania 2-0 away on Friday when France enjoyed a 4-1 victory in Moldova.

“We were very efficient against a very defensive-minded side,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.

Iceland, who have now won only one of their last 17 games, played aggressively but it was not enough to unsettle Les Bleus. “We knew it would be a tough challenge but their early goal made it even tougher,” said Iceland coach Erik Hamren. “Then when they scored the second we were really in trouble.”

Deschamps trusted the same 11 players who started against Moldova and his side made the perfect start with centre back Umtiti heading home Mbappe’s cross after 12 minutes. — Reuters

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