France 2-1 Romania
Euro 2016 got underway this evening as hosts France took on Romania in the Stade de France. After a lavish opening ceremony the football got underway and the opening game was full of entertainment.
Romaina had the first chance of the game when a cross whipped into the area fell to forward Bogdan Stancu.He lashed the ball toward goal but was denied thanks to an instinctive save from French captain Hugo Lloris. France next enjoyed a purple patch with midfielder Dimitri Payet pulling the strings. Cross after cross was floated into the box. Striker Olivier Giroud headed wide on two occasions while winger Antoine Griezmann saw his headed effort denied by the upright. The Atletico Madrid man also had a low effort skim wide of the post. The opening 45 minutes was summed up when Giroud headed over the bar in injury time. The teams headed down the tunnel level at halftime.
Romaina started on the front foot in the second half immediately putting France under pressure. The best chance they produced fell to Stancu. He flung his body at the ball but his effort went just wide of Lloris’ post. The home side began to settle down with both Giroud and Paul Pogba forcing saves from Tatarusanu in the Romanian goal. The keeper had played well up until a momentary lapse in concentration with 57 minutes played. Payet whipped in a cross from the right-wing, Tatarusanu raced out to punch it clear – he missed the ball which met the head of Giroud who gave France the lead.
Romania didn’t back down after this blow. The men in yellow continued to push forward and seven minutes after Giroud sent the home crowd wild, referee Viktor Kassai awarded Romania a penalty after French left-back Patrice Evra brought down Stancu. The Hungarian official took a second to review the foul before awarding the spot kick. Stancu stepped up and sent Lloris the wrong way slotting home the equalizer. Game on.
French coach Didier Deschamps immediately made a change withdrawing Griezmann for youngster Kingsley Coman. The Bayern Munich winger’s pace and touch was clearly an asset but France still couldn’t find a winner. Pogba was the next man to be hauled off with 13 minutes left Anthony Martial the man coming on. The Romanian defence held firm – the side conceded just two goals in qualifying and showed great skill both in defence and attack this evening.
The game seemed dead, French attacks were snuffed out just when the home supporters thought a chance might materialise. Then in the final minute of ordinary time the architect and playmaker of the evening Payet stepped up to the plate. He picked up the ball outside the Romanian box and curled a stunning effort into the top left hand corner of Tatarusanu’s goal.The Stade de France erupted. A magnificent goal worthy of winning any match had surely sealed the win for France. As Payet was replaced tears rolled down the West Ham mans face – an emotional goal that has lifted the hopes of a nation.
France just about got the job done tonight but without Man of the Match Payet, Les Bleus would be in serious trouble. Romania played well enough to earn a point tonight but when a player produces something as magical as that Payet strike there can be no complaints.
France sit at the top of Group A with three points. Switzerland and Albania will face off tomorrow in the groups other fixture.
- Kingsley Coman replaces Antoine Griezmann 66 mins
- Anthony Martia replaces Paul Pogba 77 mins
- Moussa Sissoko replaces Dimitri Payet 90+ mins
- Denis Alibec replaces Florin Andone 61 mins
- Alexandru Chipciu replaces Nicolae Stanciu 72 mins
- Gabriel Torje replaces Adrian Popa 82 mins
France – Olivier Giroud
Romania – Vlad Chiriches, Razvan Rat, Adrian Popa