A collection of talented individuals who coach Marc Wilmots was unable to mould into an effective team. Critical comments by keeper Thibaut Courtois, who placed the blame at the coach’s door, were dismissed by Wilmots as “constructive criticism”, but it clearly was not a happy camp. Outmanoeuvred by Italy in their opening game, they found their feet against the Republic of Ireland, Sweden and Hungary as Eden Hazard rediscovered the form that went missing last term at Chelsea. But Antonio Conte demonstrated why Chelsea were so keen to hire him as he managed to extract the best from a squad of limited talents and the Italians played a full part in two of the best games of the tournament, against Spain and Germany. Conte set his side up brilliantly against Belgium, who were on paper the more talented team but fell into the Azzurri’s trap. Sweden proved harder to break down, but Eder’s late goal allayed fears that Italy would lack a cutting edge. A completely changed team were beaten by The tournament’s fairy tale was ended in Paris by the hosts – but not before the Icelanders had charmed the continent and angered Cristiano Ronaldo along the way. By beating England, they pulled off one of the biggest (but deserved) upsets in the history of the tournament. They were unapologetic about their tactics; they played to their strengths, with a well executed gameplan, and the players showed plenty of technical expertise. They froze in the first-half of the semi, allowing France to race into a 4-0 lead, but showed commendable character to score twice after the break and give their army of fans further reasons to celebrate.
Hannes Halldorsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Birkir Bjarnason.
smile…iceland enjoyed their trip to france