Iceland – France: Penalty Gives World Champions Deserved Victory In Close Game (0-1)
As we could have expected, France dominated possession against Iceland, despite problems to create danger against a very defensive team. Eventually a penalty scored by Giroud unlocked the game and sealed the score for France.
Tactical analysis and match report by Simon Piotr.
Iceland holds a very solid record on their ground, in the last twenty games played in Reykjavik, they only lost three times, which speaks volumes about the quality of their defensive organization and the capacity to optimize the few professional players they have in the country.
From a tactical point of view, Iceland almost always use a flat 4-4-2 system, involving everyone defensively, which can be very tough to play against. Coincidentally, these are exactly the kind of games World Champions France do not like.
With the absence of Pogba, Mbappé and Kanté, Deschamps was missing three of his four most important players (the fourth being Griezmann). oalkeeper and captain Lloris went missing as well. Still, Deschamps kept the flexible 4-4-2 set-up France has been using most of the time since the Euro 2016 with Griezmann and Giroud upfront. The midfield was composed of Matuidi, Tolisso, Sissoko and Coman, whereas the defensive line was composed of Digne, Lenglet, Varane and Pavard. Only five players in the starting eleven were starters in the World Cup final.
A spectacularly unproductive first half
The first half was not very pleasant to watch, to say the least. Iceland wanted a game scenario where they would defend pretty deep and wait for opportunities on the transition to create danger. France had around 75% possession but - as has been common under Deschamps . . .