France v Iceland – Stade de France at 20:00 live on ITV
Euro 2016 hosts and favourites France, take on the minnows of the competition, Iceland in the last Quarter Final match this Sunday night at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, just north of Paris.
This is the most one sided Quarter Final of the weekend and one of the most in the whole tournament so far, in terms of the bookies prices at least. France are currently available to back at about 1.44 to win in 90 minutes, there have only been five shorter favourites than that so far at Euro 2016.
Unsurprisingly, with the group that France were in, they have twice gone off at shorter prices than this, but in both of those matches they required very late winning goals from their golden boy Dimitri Payet, to seal victory against supposedly much weaker opponents.
Interestingly, Iceland have already faced two big favourites in Portugal and England, who were priced up at 1.42 and 1.45 respectively, but neither of whom could beat the tiny Nordic nation. Could the trends of France struggling and Iceland upsetting the odds continue on Sunday night?
I believe they that could well do, if the French are still unable to produce their best form and continue to move the ball far too slowly, not to mention wasting the chances they create in the final third.
The French have averaged 18 shots per game at Euro 2016, which has so far yielded just 6 goals in their 4 matches and half of those were scored after the 89th minute!
Iceland on the other hand could not be much more efficient with their shooting.
They average just 7.25 shots per game, which is the second lowest in the tournament, but they too have notched 6 goals and they have scored at least once in every match so far. To be honest, in the long run it is hard to see how either of these shot conversion statistics could be sustained.
France are overdue to click into gear and rack up a few goals against someone, while Iceland simply can’t be expected to keep converting their chances at a frankly ridiculous 42.8% of shots on target, resulting in a goal.
However, the seven games that it takes to win a European Championships is certainly not long term and both trends could well continue for long enough, for Iceland to upset the hosts this weekend.
France clearly have the more talented individuals on the pitch, but they will need to come together as a team to overcome an Icelandic side who are flying high after their win over England in the Last 16 on Monday night.
Plus, they will need to do it without N’Golo Kante, Adil Rami who are suspended and potentially Kingsley Coman, who is an injury doubt for this Quarter Final match.
With France being such strong favourites, their Asian Handicap line is -1.25 at 2.08 and this for me is a line which, they really should be covering with some ease against Iceland. However, they needed two injury time goals to cover the same line against Albania and have not covered it in any other match so far.
When looking back at Iceland’s record, they have not lost by 2 or more goals since November 2013, when playing away against Croatia in a World Cup qualifying playoff match. That is a fantastic run which proves how competitive this Iceland side really is, plus they will be full of confidence having upset big favourites here already.
This should be another close game, so I am happy to back the on form underdogs to keep the score line close and maybe even take it into extra time & potentially penalties.
I also think we could see a few goals, but as with many knockout round games, 1-1 begins to look very appealing from 70 minutes onwards as no team wants to risk losing late on. But, backing Over 2.25 Goals at 1.87 does allow us a fall-back position of a half loss, should there only be 2 goals.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Iceland +1.25 at 1.88 and Over 2.25 Goals at 1.87
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