In an international football that tends to bring the levels closer in the playoffs and in front of an undefeated home team for six years, the team of France brings back an exceptional result of Iceland. Yes, we must be enthusiastic about Giroud's goal on a penalty, even if the best action of the match is a flight of wild geese over the Laugardalsvöllur fifteen minutes from the end.
This is not the most beautiful match of the world champions but the qualifications are not there for that, for the beautiful game and the ways of conquering. In the image of a precious victory in Bulgaria (1-0) to participate in the World Cup 2018, the French team compensated for its lack of percussion, the weakness of its usual host, Antoine Griezmann, and the Icelandic low block by his seriousness.
"We knew it was going to be a physical fight, notes Didier Deschamps. We were up to that level. It was closed in the first period, less in second where we could have taken shelter with a second goal. We were very solid against Iceland's direct game. It was a men's match. The whole group responded well. This is a very important victory for us before thinking about Monday's match against Turkey. "
A second, brighter period
The playoffs leave little trace and Iceland-France will not escape the rule. Only victory counts and it is not a question of turning one's back on the principles of the game, the noble art of football.
It's just a principle of reality: Iceland-France is not a poster and it is written in the initial idea that the meeting will be painful, long, tight, between the promise of a draw and the hope of a short victory. We do not wait for this duel to feel emotions, we seek them in a PSG-Real Madrid or a Rhone derby between Saint-Etienne and Lyon. At least, the Blues will have the good taste to offer a second period more lively, with more life offensive, the post of Matuidi after the penalty of Giroud at the spinning entrance of Ben Yedder. "You think it's easy for other selections?" Says the boss of the Blues. All matches are difficult. The opponent had a sponsor. We had six chances and they did not have a crumb. If it's always like that, I want to be in trouble! "
With six fewer players compared to the World Cup final (Editor's note: Lloris, Hernandez, Umtiti, Kante, Pogba, Mbappe), the team of France changes face and, sometimes, to escape (in the classification), that is not enough. But the Blues have not been in trouble because of the usual substitutes – Tolisso and Digne, for example, have shown up.
The usual executives have deserted a little soul tricolor, mainly Antoine Griezmann, long lost before gathering after the break. The Barcelona got the penalty, which makes it both indispensable and beautiful in its absence of renunciation. This Monday at the Stade de France, Turkey, the main threat in this group, will be there and the requirements will rise. The level too. It will look like what can be found in a Euro. This is good: the Blues take more than ever the path.