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France v Iceland: England’s conquerors capable of removing hosts

| 02.07.2016

Despite what Iceland achieved against England in the round-of-16, rallying from the early setback of falling behind to a fourth-minute penalty, taking the lead in the 18th minute and then rarely looking like relinquishing it, they are 8/1 to defy expectations once more against France.

Yes, Les Bleus boast a stronger squad than the Three Lions and home advantage too, but the 4/9 favourites to win this quarter final in 90 minutes haven’t been brilliant so far and are yet to crush an opponent like Wales did to Russia, Germany did to Slovakia and Italy did to Belgium and Spain.

Didier Deschamps’ side possess more quality than Iceland, yet the same has been true of everyone that they have faced so far and they haven’t dismissed any of them with a great deal of authority.

An 89th-minute intervention from Dimitri Payet was required to secure victory against unremarkable Romania in the tournament opener, they left it until a minute later to grab the two goals that broke Albania’s resistance and then they didn’t net at all in their final Group A assignment with Switzerland.

Fair enough, there wasn’t much at stake in the latter contest, with a point enough to earn top spot, but there was plenty on the line against Republic of Ireland in the round-of-16, where they went 1-0 down in the second minute and waited until around the hour mark to pull themselves together.

Iceland are unbeaten in the competition despite meeting some established teams like Portugal and England, they are improving with each outing, prevailing in the most recent two after drawing the two prior to that, and the two times that they have trailed, they have restored parity within 19 and two minutes. It all suggests that 7/4 is a delicious price on the Iceland and Draw double chance.

Even if you disagree and expect France to triumph, the fact they are yet to be ahead at the break while the underdogs are yet to be behind on 45 minutes lends itself to bets on either a half time draw at 11/10 or Iceland lead at 13/2. The Iceland/France Half Time/Full Time turnaround is a 22/1 shot.

Another trend to be aware of is that two of the hosts’ three successes and both of their Nordic adversaries’ pair came by 2-1 scorelines. It is 15/2 that France do so again and 22/1 that Iceland do.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Alex Fortune