Tall strikers give Iceland edge: Didier

France realise how dangerous Iceland can be from long throw-ins and have been working on ways to counter that weapon when they face the surprise packages of the European Championship in the quarter-finals, coach Didier Deschamps said on Saturday.

By Reuters
  • Published 3.07.16
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Paris: France realise how dangerous Iceland can be from long throw-ins and have been working on ways to counter that weapon when they face the surprise packages of the European Championship in the quarter-finals, coach Didier Deschamps said on Saturday.

Deschamps, who has a reputation for being a shrewd tactician, is well aware that Iceland have created two goals from throws straight into the penalty area during their fairytale run to the last eight.

"We know they often use low, straight throw-ins with well-defined positioning because that's something they've been repeating match after match," Deschamps told a news conference at the Stade de France where Sunday's match will take place. "We will take measures to limit the effect of that aspect of their game," he added. "When they have a throw-in 30 or 40 metres from goal, it's the equivalent of a set piece."

While more prestigious sides often concentrate on possession and passing, Iceland are first and foremost a physical, compact outfit who know how to make the most of their own artillery, Deschamps said.

"They know they are not going to get that many corners in a game and they compensate that by using the throw-in as a set piece," he said. "They weigh on your defence with two tall strikers who put you under a lot of pressure. The tall strikers give them the edge," the France coach added. "I can't make my own players taller by given them a few more centimetres, but we do have some who can fight for high balls".

Iceland, however, should not be reduced to long throws and aerial duels, Deschamps said. "They have quality players who can also play on the ground with combinations," he said. "My players have been watching their games and perfectly know that they did not get to that stage by accident."