In the tournament’s opening game we saw late drama as hosts France had to wait 89 minutes for the game winner, scored by West Ham man – Dmitri Payet.
France 2-1 Romania
Giroud (57′) Stancu (64′ Pen)
So the European Championships 2016 officially kicked off last night, as France beat Romania 2-1 at the Stade de France.
This is how the teams lined up.
Lloris, Sagna, Koscielny, Rami, Evra, Kanté, Matuidi, Pogba, Griezmann, Payet, Giroud.
Tatarusanu, Sspunaru, Grigore, Chiriches, Rat, Hoban, Pintilii, Stanciu, Popa, Stancu, Andone.
It was a closer game than most people expected, with Romania ultimately being undone by a spectacular 25 yard strike from Dimitri Payet.
Here is a summary of the key moments from the game.
Romania had a great chance to take the lead inside 4 minutes. Bogdan Stancu the left winger had an effort cleared off the line by Hugo Lloris, the French keeper after Stancu got in ahead of the French defence. The resulting corner was headed over the bar.
That was to be Romania’s best and only chance of the first half as the hosts got themselves going.
On the 10 minute mark, France created their first chance of the game, a floated cross by Payet found Olivier Giroud, who could only head wide despite finding on space in the box.
This was followed on the 14th minute when right back Bacary Sagna’s cross bounced up into the air. In demand forward, Antoine Griezmann pounced but could only hit the post with a header from close range.
Chances then became a premium as both sides pressed for the opener but it was on 35 minutes when Payet’s cut-back ball found Griezmann, however his first time shot just went wide of the right hand post.
In the dying minutes of the half, France missed another chance to go in front. Olivier Giroud found space in the 18 yard box, but could only head over from Payet’s corner.
The game ended goalless at half time.
At the start of the second half Romania started how they started the first half. Stancu again found some space in the box, but couldn’t direct his effort goalwards.
It wasn’t until the 56th minute when France got going again. Payet made a great run into the box and found Pogba who hit the ball first time but the Romanian goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu made a brilliant save to turn it behind for a corner.
A minute later, France got the breakthrough. Payet’s floated cross found Giroud who got ahead of Tatarusanu and headed the ball into the bottom corner to give France the lead and the opening goal of this year’s European Championship. 1-0 to France on 57 minutes.
Romania fought back and were awarded a penalty after a clumsy challenge by Patrice Evra on Nicolae Stanciu.
Bogdan Stancu stepped up and scored, sending Lloris the wrong way and putting the visitors level at the Stade de France 1-1.
Just like in the first half, chances became a premium as Romania tried to hang onto to a precious point.
However the Romanian’s hard work was undone, when on 89 minutes Dimitri Payet, just like he had done for West Ham in the Premier League last season scored a spectacular goal. He picked up the ball and ran before unleashing a 25 yard effort that went into the top left hand corner, with Tatarusanu well beaten. Payet’s effort gave France the three points they needed to kick-start their tournament.
Final score: France 2-1 Romania.
Star man – Dimitri Payet
Not only did Payet setup the opening goal and score the 89th winner, he also looked calm and assured on the ball all night long and showed just why he has cemented a place in the starting line-up.