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Deschamps delighted with first-half blitz

Published: Sunday 3 July 2016, 23.15CET
Didier Deschamps was left saluting a first half in which his team "did all we had to do" after France sealed a 5-2 quarter-final win against an Iceland side that remained proud in defeat.
by Chris Burke at Stade de France
Deschamps delighted with first-half blitz
Olivier Giroud (France) ©Getty Images
Published: Sunday 3 July 2016, 23.15CET

Deschamps delighted with first-half blitz

Didier Deschamps was left saluting a first half in which his team "did all we had to do" after France sealed a 5-2 quarter-final win against an Iceland side that remained proud in defeat.

Didier Deschamps, France coach
It wasn't easy to manage everything, but this evening we did all we had to in the first half. Afterwards we let up a little, and I really wanted to protect Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny. They were facing a possible suspension and it would have been really stupid to lose a player in such a game.

Germany have been the best team, without doubt, even if they had a bit of a hard time on occasion against Italy, who took them all the way. But we are there, in the final four, and we will give our all against the best team not only in Europe, but the world.

There are a lot of positives to take away from this evening and I'm delighted for the players as they deserve this, and for these fans who have been behind us for months. To be able to offer them something to make them smile and feel happy and to have another week here – I'm delighted about that.

Olivier Giroud, France forward and man of the match
We scored five goals and we're very pleased, but we conceded two. Iceland never gave up. They're a very determined side and I'd like to congratulate them. They had a great EURO.

Giroud still sees room for improvement from France

I don't know if this is my best performance for France. I've played well before but in a major tournament perhaps it is. I felt really good from the start. We're used to making bad starts, but we began strongly and need to continue like that. We were on top from the very first minutes and very clinical. And I'm scoring once again.

Germany will be a completely different match. They're the world champions and often in the last four of major tournaments. We want revenge for [our quarter-final loss in] the World Cup. We beat them in a friendly [in November], but it'll be a different game.

I hope the fans will be as supportive as they were tonight. We're lucky to be playing a EURO semi-final in front of a home crowd and I'm very proud of what this team is achieving.

Dimitri Payet, France midfielder
We scored a lot of goals so it was very good. We scored very early on, unlike in our previous games, so we're happy. We know we have quality strikers. We created lots of chances – that's what makes it easier to score goals. But besides that, in terms of the performance, I think it was our best so far.

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We worked hard on analysing Iceland this week. We knew their strengths and weaknesses. We focused on them, but I think we were at our best level in this game.

I don't think [Germany] are weakened – they're the world champions. We know the quality of their team so we know what to expect from them. We'll rest well and prepare for this match in the best possible way.

Lars Lagerbäck, Iceland joint-coach
I'd like to congratulate France. They're a fantastic team and they made us look bad, even if we contributed to that. These four and a half years have been a fantastic journey for me. With all the fans coming here and what we heard from back home, and all the positivity and interest – I feel it deep in my heart. I've enjoyed every minute, except maybe the first 45 minutes today.

We didn't handle it well mentally, but in the second half we showed it wasn't a physical problem. These are the games you have to learn from and we need to learn from this. This was a good reminder that you have to have the right attitude every second. If you look at the whole tournament, to reach the quarter-finals as a newcomer is absolutely fantastic. We didn't use our brains, but part of that might be France playing very well. We made mistakes and were too passive.

I may come back to coaching in some capacity, but now it's Heimir [Hallgrímsson]'s turn has to test his abilities and fly with the national team.

Sigurdsson 'proud' as Iceland bow out

Gylfi Sigurdsson, Iceland midfielder
We were disappointed with the first half, but France deserved the win. We're very proud. It's been a fantastic tournament and something special for a small team. We have probably overachieved and done something that nobody expected us to do.

Probably 10–15 players are a really good age and will be looking forward to the World Cup [qualifiers] starting. Hopefully the future will be bright for Iceland and we can continue to improve.

Kolbeinn Sigthórsson, Iceland forward
It's disappointing to be out now, but we're really proud of everything we've done and also proud of all the support we've been receiving. This really is great. Just look at the atmosphere here. This is really special.

I simply think we were playing against the upcoming European champions in this match and the French played really well. Our defence perhaps didn't play as they should have done today and that's tough to take.

But we came back in the second half and showed we can always score a goal. I must give us credit for having character. We wanted to show that we could win the second half, which we did since we scored two goals and we are content with that.

Last updated: 12/07/16 17.54CET