SAINT-DENIS, France – Iceland left with heads held high. As well they should.
The fairytale of an island of 330,000 people, invading Europe with gutsy football and fabulous fans, was always going to end sometime, because logic dictated that at some point the underdog darlings of the European Championship would bite off more than they could chew.
That moment came in a quarterfinal against France on Sunday that exposed the limitations of an Icelandic team that had rocked football in the previous round by ousting England.
France now faces Germany riding a wave of confidence that comes from scoring five goals in one match.
Iceland goes home having proved to everyone that a great deal can be done with very little.
Here are 5 things to know about France's 5-2 victory at the Stade de France.
Iceland's formation, with two lines of four and two strikers, is a throwback to the days of mullet haircuts. Very old school. And their rigid adherence to that 4-4-2 formation was their undoing against France.
Exhibit A: Olivier Giroud's opening goal after 12 minutes.
With a pass from the back left of France's 4-2-3-1 formation, holding midfielder Blaise Matuidi cut out the whole of Iceland's midfield and defense with a pass that landed just behind the Icelandic back four and into the path of Giroud, who'd been lurking in a gap between Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kari Arnason, both big defenders but hardly the fastest out of the blocks.
From there, it was fairly straightforward for the Arsenal forward: a left-footed kick straight through the legs of Iceland 'keeper Hannes Halldorsson.
More versatile teams might, at that point, have switched formations, perhaps got the full backs on the left and right to push high up the field in search of an equalizer.
But 4-4-2 has been Iceland's default through Euro 2016 and, against France and its tactical and technical limitations became starkly apparent all too quickly.
France had been waiting for a standout moment from Paul Pogba, its much coveted midfielder. It got it with a jump that came out of the playbook of Michael Jordan, His Airness himself.
The tall (1.91 meters/6-foot-2) and strapping midfielder and Iceland striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson jumped together for a looping corner-kick that Antoine Griezmann landed in the danger zone in front of Halldorsson, just out of reach of the Iceland 'keeper but close enough to be a threat.
The difference was that Bodvarsson wasn't moving and Pogba was. Pogba jumped a head higher than his marker, and powered the ball into the net with his head for France's second goal after just 20 minutes.
Pogba played deep in the center of the French midfield, in a distribution role that his former teammate at Juventus, Andrea Pirlo, made an art of. Pogba's pass from deep that Giroud flicked on for Griezmann was the origin of France's fourth goal.
Pogba, although still just 23, is also taking on a leadership role. As the teams came back out for the second half, Pogba gave his teammates a vigorous talking to in the tunnel, seemingly exhorting them to not rest on the laurels of their 4-0 first-half lead.
France winger Dimitri Payet kissed one of Griezmann's boots after his goal. Really, he should have kissed Giroud's, too, because of the essential role the striker has played in allowing Griezmann to become top scorer, for now, at Euro 2016, with four goals.
The effectiveness of their partnership is built, in large measure, on Giroud's selflessness. He seems as happy making assists for Griezmann as trying to score himself. His onward flick of the ball in the center of the field that led to Griezmann's goal was just one example of that.
Giroud's height (1.92 meters; 6-feet-3) makes him a different sort of attacking threat to the shorter, more nimble Griezmann. Their complementarity showed in France's third goal: Giroud headed down Bacary Sagna's cross; Griezmann passed to it Payet, who scored.
ICELAND'S PARTY TRICK FAILS
France wasn't as naive as England.
In the 23rd minute, Iceland wheeled out the party trick it used to such great effect in its run to the quarterfinals: A huge 25-meter throw-in by captain Aron Gunnarsson into the box, a teammate flicking the ball on with his head and someone else getting a leg to it and diverting it into the net.
This time, the leg was Bodvarsson's but his effort went over France 'keeper Hugo Lloris' crossbar.
Iceland tried the trick — which worked in its 2-1 defeat of England in the previous round — again in the 30th minute and in the second half, but both times French defender Patrice Evra headed the ball away.
Fans from Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales have lit up Euro 2016 with their good humor and full-blooded support for their teams. But Iceland's supporters have taken fandom to a whole other level.
Their lusty rendition of the song "Ferdalok" before the defeat to France and again during it sent shivers down the spine.
"Sun shimmers in the water, see the glacier glow, all is bright for the two of us, because I am back home," they bellowed.
Liverpool should invite the Iceland team for an exhibition match. Because hearing "Ferdalok" echo from one end of Anfield stadium and "You'll Never Walk Alone" from the other would be something.
John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at email@example.com or follow him at http://twitter.com/johnleicester