Euro 2016: Dimitri Payet scores stunning French winner

Why did France’s other players fail to shine?
Credit must go to Romania, who showed why they had the
best defensive record in qualifying, but some France players
were worryingly flat.
Pogba had a volley well saved by Ciprian Tatarusanu but
failed to get his foot on the ball in midfield – and his side
lacked a player who could dictate play from deep.
N’Golo Kante put in the kind of all-action display we are
used to seeing from him for Leicester but, one swinging
crossfield ball apart, did not open Romania up.
On top of the lack of balance in midfield, France were
worryingly open at the back.
Their makeshift central defensive partnership of Adil Rami
and Laurent Koscielny has played only two games together
before this tournament and it showed.
Hugo Lloris rescued them with a brilliant early save from
Stancu but better sides than Romania will be more ruthless
in front of goal.
Man of the match – Dimitri Payet (France)
France manager Didier Deschamps said recently that “every
time he touches the ball, something happens” and the West
Ham star proved him right.
He was behind all of Les Bleus’ best moments and looked
like the only player capable of opening up Romania.
What they said
France manager Didier Deschamps: “It was a tricky match.
Romania made it complicated – for the first 20-25 minutes
we had a tough time of it. The opening match of a
tournament is like playing in a cup final and we were a bit
“But I put four attacking players on to go for the win and I
am delighted for the players that they got it.”
Former France striker Thierry Henry on BBC Radio 5 live:
“Dimitri Payet thought he was going to the 2014 World Cup
in Brazil. He was involved in every qualifying game but they
took that away from him.
“Tonight you saw a man who was hurt. He was saying with
that performance ‘you didn’t take me to the World Cup and I
am going to show you’. He wanted every single ball. You
can’t win a game by yourself. but that strike… oh my gosh.
“No one is going to take what is happening to him now away
from him. He showed tremendous desire. He was the one
that drove the team forward.”
The stats you need to know
Romania have never won their opening game at a
European Championship finals tournament (D3 L2).
Romania conceded the same number of goals in this match
(2) as they did in their entire Euro 2016 qualification
campaign (2).
Olivier Giroud has now scored eight goals in his last six
starts for France.
There has now been a penalty given in three of the last four
European Championship finals opening games (2004, 2012
& 2016), with all of them coming against the host nation.
Kingsley Coman became the youngest player to play for
France in a major international tournament (aged 19 years
362 days).
What next?
The other teams in Group A, Albania and Switzerland, meet
in Lens on Saturday – the same day England play Russia and
Wales take on Slovakia in Group B.
France are back in action when they play Albania in
Marseille on Wednesday evening. Romania stay in Paris, and
take on Switzerland at Parc des Princes earlier the same day.
Match Stats
Live Text
1 Lloris
19 Sagna
4 Rami
21 Koscielny
3 Evra
15 Pogba Martial 77′
5 Kanté
14 Matuidi
7 Griezmann Coman 66′
9 Giroud
8 Payet Sissoko 90+2′
2 Jallet
6 Cabaye
10 Gignac
11 Martial
12 Schneiderlin
13 Mangala
16 Mandanda
17 Digne
18 Sissoko
20 Coman
22 Umtiti
23 Costil
12 Tatarusanu
22 Sapunaru
6 Chiriches
21 Grigore
3 Rat
10 Stanciu Chipciu 72′
5 Hoban
8 Pintilii
20 Popa Torje 82′
14 Andone Alibec 61′
19 Stancu
1 Pantilimon
2 Matel
4 Moti
7 Chipciu
9 Alibec
11 Torje
13 Keseru
15 Gaman
16 Filip
17 Sanmartean
18 Prepelita
23 Lung Jr.
Viktor Kassai