France 2-1 Romania: Payet secures a perfect start for Les Blues at Euro 2016

A fabulous strike in the final minute of normal time, from the midfielder, set Les Bleus onto the winning track as they opened the European Championships in Paris.

France 2-1 Romania: Payet secures a perfect start for Les Blues at Euro 2016
Payet celebrates the winner (source: Daily Mail)
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France: Lloris; Evra, Koscielny, Rami, Sagna; Matuidi, Kante, Pogba (Martial min. 77) ; Payet, (Sissoko min 90+2) Giroud, Griezmann (Coman min. 66)
Romania: Tatarusanu; Rat, Grigore, Chiriches, Sapunaru; Pintilii, Hoban, Stanciu (Chipciu, min 72); Stancu, Andone, (Alibec min. 61) Popa (Torje min. 82)
SCORE: 0-1, min 57, Giroud. 1-1, min. 65, Stancu. 2-1. min. 89, Payet.
REFEREE: Viktor Kassai (HUN).
INCIDENTS: Opening game for the 2016 European Championships at the Stade de France. 75,113 spectators.

France secured a win on the opening night of Euro 2016 thanks to a tremendous 89th minute strike from Dimitri Payet that saw them beat Romania 2-1.

Striker Olivier Giroud opened the scoring for the tournament in the second half, before France conceded a penalty minutes later, which Bogdan Stancu easily converted.

Nerves seemed to get the better of Les Bleus, who saw a frustrating first half as they failed to convert a handful of good chances, however they always looked more likely to score. The French unsurprisingly looked shaky in defence as Romania threatened on numerous occasions.

Frustrating first half for France

Romania almost caused an upset with the first corner of the game as an unmarked Stancu forced a great save from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, as he attempted to place the ball into the back of the net from three yards out. Romania came close again with their second corner as an Andone sent a header onto the roof of the net.

For the opening ten minutes Romania looked like the more dynamic team, moving the ball quickly around the French players hence adding pressure on the host nation.

A corner in the first ten minutes saw France come close to opening the scoring. Payet worked his way to the outside of the box to set up a header for Giroud, who placed it wide.

Paul Pogba then curved open the Romania defence, who were playing a dangerous high line, allowing Bacary Sagna to run onto it. Sagna’s curving cross into the box was perfect for Antoine Greizmann who failed to control the ball, but to his luck Vlad Chiriches spooned the ball into the air to allow Griezmann to get a head to it, but unluckily the shot hit the post.

France continued to see lots of half chances, with Romania’s defence looking solid, intercepting as much as possible.  Payet tried to release Griezmann with a slick low ball from deep, but an out stretched leg from Chiriches just managed to intercept the pass. France then looked on the move again as a Rami’s pass from the half way line found Giroud. The striker was denied by another clearance from Romania.

Quick feet from Payet down the right flank brought him to the outside of the penalty area before firing a low cross towards Griezmann. The shot however flew inches wide.

A penalty shout for Romania came in the 38th minute as Andone found himself squeezed between Laurent Koscielny and Adil Rami. A kick in the knee from Koscielny saw Andone fall to the floor, however the referee dismissed the penalty call. The decision proved to be correct, as the foul was out side the box, yet Romania were unlucky to not have a free kick.

France closed the first half with another near miss as a great delivery from Payet from a corner found Giroud on the penalty spot and the striker failed to find the target as the header went wide.

France break through

Romania again looked dangerous in the opening minutes of the second half. Stanciu’s cross flew over the French defence to find Stancu who was in acres of space and chested the ball down, but was not able to wrap his foot around the ball, sending it wide.

France then bounced back into action as Payet neatly set up Giroud who took a shot at goal, however it resulted in an easy save for the goalkeeper. Minutes later a fantastic skill from Payet left players on the floor, before his pass found Pogba on the edge of the box. Pogba’s ferocious volley was aimed straight at the ‘keeper, again a fantastic opportunity for France was wasted.

Giroud finally opened the scoring for France in the 57th minute as he beat the goalkeeper to Payet’s cross. However the 'keeper was partially at fault as he committed himself to the cross before retreating at the last second.

Romania quickly fought back as Ravzan Rat won a corner. A shaky French defence gifted Romania a free header which was headed over. Romania made the first substitution of the game straight after the corner as Andone was replaced by Alibec.

Just five minutes after opening the scoring, France conceded a penalty as Patrice Evra took down Santciu with a reckless challenge. Stancu duped Lloris with a low shot to the ‘keepers left, however Lloris unconvincingly leaned to the right. Subsequently France made the second substitution of the game as young Kingsley Coman replaced Griezmann to try and re-spark Frances chances.

An arieal view of Romania's penalty, shows Lloris diving the wrong way. (source: Daily Mail)
An arieal view of Romania's penalty, shows Lloris diving the wrong way. (source: Reuters

Goalscorer Giroud then picked up a yellow card as temperatures rose for France. The striker earned the booking for elbowing Pintili as both jumped for the ball.

France made their second substitution of the game as Anthony Martial replaced Pogba, as they continued to push for a winner. Pogba looked perplexed as he jogged off the pitch however it looked like Didier Deschamps resorted to pace to find the winner.

Romania used their last substitution as Popa was replaced by Gokhan Torje. The substitute made an immediate impact as he won a free kick from 25-yards out. The French defence again frail as nobody seemed confident in what they are doing. Luckily for the French this left all the onrushing Romanian players offside.

A stunning goal out of nowhere saw France finally killed off the game with two minutes to go as Payet cut in from the left and curled his left-footed shoot into the top left hand corner, from 25 yards out. However, the goal scorer was substituted a minute later for Moussa Sissoko.

The substitution of Pogba seems to have payed off as it allowed Payet to have a more central role, giving him the same to drift into the centre of the pitch.

France attempted to secure the win deep into added time as Blaise Matuidi released Sissoko, however the shot was blasted wide.

France now face Albania on the 15th and Switzerland four days later as they aim to secure their place in the knockout stages of the tournament.