Euro 2016: France vs Iceland - 5 players to watch out for
The last of the UEFA Euro 2016 quarter-finals will see hosts France take on spirited Iceland at the Stade de France in Paris. Few encounters in recent memory, especially in the latter stages of a tournament, have elicited such David vs Goliath comparisons. All the pressure will be on the hosts France, as they will look to continue their quest towards another European Championship crown in front of their fans. Iceland, who have already exceeded expectations will look to make their moment in the spotlight last a bit longer.
The French have been inconsistent, even within the span of 90 minutes, for the most part of tournament. Looking very slick and polished at times, and disjointed and incoherent in patches, they have obviously not found their rhythm thus far. A significantly weakened defence with many regulars missing has not helped their cause. Iceland have been the surprise package of Euro 2016. Having finished runners-up in their group, they pulled off the shock of Euro 2016 by eliminating England in the round of 16. Their confidence is sky high and with no pressure on them, they will look to enjoy themselves out there.
Here we take a look at 5 players who will make a difference in tonight’s encounter:
#1 Paul Pogba
Pogba was slated to be France’s game changer at the start of Euro 2016. Having performed in only fits and starts, questions have been asked about Pogba’s ability to deliver on the biggest of stages. One thing is for sure, the Paul Pogba who runs rampant in Serie A for Juventus has not turned up so far in the tournament. He has looked nervous and error-prone, and far cry from his usual calm demeanour. Much of the confident swagger also seems to have deserted him till now.
But Pogba makes it to this list simply due to his game-changing abilities. The epitome of the athletic box-to-box midfielder of the modern game, Pogba is a physical specimen to behold. Pace, strength and immense stamina make him one of the best athletes on the football field nowadays. He has a commanding presence at his best, something France is desperately lacking in midfield for now. His ability to provide sumptuous deliveries into the box for strikers, as well as the ability to finish off such passes himself, make him a significant threat going forward. Whether Pogba can grab the opportunity and seize his moment tonight remains to be seen.