Dimitri Payet put in a man of the match performance at France snatched a late win at the Stade de France against Romania in the opening game of Euro 2016.

The opening game was expected to be a cagey affair, with the favourites France (with the home advantage) taking a strong defensive side in Romania.

The game started very lively and in the fourth minute, Bogdan Stancu should’ve scored from a well-crossed corner, only to hit the shot straight at French captain Hugo Lloris who stood firm on his line.

Payet, who was the talisman behind many of the French attacks in the first half, put in a wonderful corner in the 11th minute towards Olivier Giroud to place his free header high and wide.

Only three minutes later in the 14th, Bacary Sagna played in Antoine Griezmann. The ball bobbled up and left a goal on a plate, only for his header to cannon off the post.

Adil Rami, who seemed very nervous on the ball during the first half, put Giroud through, only for Dragoş Grigore to produce a goal-saving tackle to deny the Frenchman in the 25th minute.
Payet was at the centre of the action again, putting a low cross in from the right to Griezmann, only for the shot (destined for the left-hand corner) to be deflected behind.

Romania, known for their tough defence, held their own during the half and showed they aren’t shy to the odd crunching tackle, with captain Vlad Chiricheş and Răzvan Raţ both heading off the pitch at halftime with yellow cards to their name.

Romania started the second half more lively, with Nicolae Stanciu playing in Stancu, who could only put his volley wide of the far post in the 48th minute.

Four minutes later in the 52nd, Giroud had the chance to scored after wonderful play from Payet, but he could only find the Romania Keeper Ciprian Tătăruşanu and his grateful hands.

But in the 58th minute, Payet played a beautiful ball in for Olivier Giroud to head the ball past Tătăruşanu, who only found air in his attempt to catch the ball, 1-0 France.

However, Patrice Evra became the villain in the 64th minute, when he gave away a needless penalty. Bogdan Stancu stepped up to take it and slotted it past a frozen Lloris, 1-1.

Giroud had a penalty turned down in the 68th minute and let his temper flair, picking up a booking a minute later. Adrian Popa also picked up a booking in the 78th minute stopping a France counter-attack.

All was quiet until the 89th minute when Dimitri Payet scored an absolute screamer into the top right-hand corner, gave the keeper no chance. Contender for goal of the tournament in the first game, 2-1 to France. As you can see, our TFF live tweeters got quite excited…

 

With the last chance of the game, Blaise Matuidi played in Moussa Sissoko who shot well wide.

Full Time: France 2 – 1 Romania

Man of the Match: There’s only one man it could be, that is the match winner Dimitri Payet. All the attacks seemed to flow through him, whether he was playing further out wide, or more narrow. He had the flair and the composure to score a goal when it really mattered at the end of the game, earning France maximum points.

A look to the future: France play Albania in their next game, where they should gain maximum points and see themselves into the Round of 16 comfortably. Romania, on the other hand, face Switzerland and, after today’s performance, it’s game they could take three points from and at least get a draw.

Lineups (Ratings):

France:
1. Lloris (6) – A quiet game for the Captain apart from the unstoppable penalty
3. Evra (6)
4. Rami (6)
21. Koscielny (7)
19. Sagna (6)
5. Kanté (7)
14. Matuidi (7)
15. Pogba (6) – Didn’t have the best game, which saw him subbed off in the 77th minute.
7. Griezmann (5) – Couldn’t take his chances, first player to come off.
8. Payet (9) – MOTM
9. Giroud (7) – Should’ve scored in the first half, got his goal in the second. Let his temper get the better of him getting a yellow card.
Subs:
20. Coman (6)
11. Martial (6)
19. Sissoko (N/A)

Romania:
12. Tătăruşanu (6) – Played well until the blunder for Giroud’s goal. Could do nothing about Payet’s.
22. Săpunaru (7) – Romania’s best player of the night, solid defensively as well as going forward.
21. Grigore (6)
6. Chiricheş (6) – Booked in the first half, never really recovered.
3. Raţ (5) – Booked in the first half, poor going forward.
5. Hoban (5) – Invisible all game.
8. Pintilii (6)
10. Stanciu (7) – Could’ve got a few assists if the strikers could score.
20. Popa (6)
19. Stancu (6) – Scored the penalty, but should’ve scored within four minutes.
14. Andone (5) – Missed the target all night.
Subs:
9. Alibec (6)
7. Chipciu (6)
11. Torje (N/A)

The Football Forecast will be covering all of the games through the Euros. To keep up to date, follow us on Twitter @OfficialTFF and follow me personally @kieranmoss97.

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