All eyes descended on Paris, France, last night for the opening of Euro 2016. After recent events in the country, the European Championship is something that can be celebrated, bringing nations together as one.
A Dimitri Payet wonder goal late in the second-half secured all three points for Les Bleus, but that was no easy game for Didier Deschamps’ side.
Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud opened the scoring from six-yards, latching onto a cross from Payet, before Nicolae Stanciu was brought down in the box by Patrice Evra. Bogdan Stancu netted the equaliser from the penalty spot, as fans are the Continent watched on.
A night to rememeber, for the right reasons
9:49PM BST. Step up Payet. If it was not for the West Ham midfielder, then Romania would likely have come out of this opening Group A match with a draw. The left-footed wonder goal left Payet’s boot, flying into the top corner which sent the nation into delight.
Romania however, should not feel too disheartened. Anghel Iordanescu was ‘pleased’ with his sides’ contribution, despite falling to a late goal.
Stancu could have had the Romanians a goal up inside four minutes, if it hadn’t been for a reflex save from Hugo Lloris. Prolific at club level, the Genclerbirligi forward clearly never read the script as he fluffed his lines from three-yards.
The 28-year-old did however have the composure to get the better of Lloris from the spot, whilst he could have notched another midway through the second-half. Given the fact that Romania were facing a side which included the likes of Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Premier League champion N’golo Kante – Iordanescu’s side put on one hell of a show.
Just over 20,000 Romanians made their way to the Stade de France for the opening Euro 2016 match. Met with grit and determination, Stancu & Co. all gave their absolute best, which is bad news for Albania and Switzerland.
Of all the groups in the competition, this is the one where a potential upset could occur. Switzerland aren’t at their best, narrowly winning against 10 men Albania, Romania could prove a tough team to beat, having already played early favourites.
Iordanescu did say that it may take a while to pick his players’ heads up after that defeat which they didn’t deserve. But, with a performance like that, Romania and fans alike should be proud, roaring their team onto victory against Switzerland on Wednesday.
On to the next on..
Whilst they may have had troubles in front of goal. With the services of Stanciu and Gabriel Torje, Florin Andone will grab a goal in this group. Impressive against a France defence which included Laurent Koscielny and Adil Rami, Andone – who has 26 goals in 56 games for Cordoba – will prove a threat if he gets in the right positions.
As Emanuel Rosu wrote ESPN on Stanciu for ESPN: "With his almost every touch, Stanciu showed why the No. 10 is on his back. Smart, skilled and ready for the unexpected; if France had Payet, Romania brought its own version of Hagi's historical No. 10. The attacking midfield maestro was often in two-on-one situations, not only creating, but also making the next step with his unpredictable moves."
Whatever does happen at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday, Iordanescu’s Romania team will give it one hell of a go to advance from the group.