France 2 v 1 Romania – Euro 2016 Group A

FRA 2:1 ROM – what a cracking opening to the UEFA EURO 2016 tournament! Romania will feel hard done by after a wonderful performance from a side prepared brilliantly by coach Anghel Iordănescu. They wasted two glorious chances, one at the start each half, to shock an insipid French team, who were only saved early on by the brilliance of Tottenham Hotspur keeper Hugo Lloris. Step up Dimitri Payet…an amazing display from the West Ham United FC star, who lit up Saint-Denis in the 2nd half by setting up Olivier Giroud for a fortunate opening goal (questions of a foul on Romania keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu, who was brilliant all night, remain after Giroud led with his elbow to head in). A stubborn Romanian team found a way back into the game when Bogdan Stancu converted from the spot after a clumsy foul by Patrice Evra. France struggled to cope with the incisive counter-attacking from the Romanians as Nicolae Stanciu pulled the strings in the middle of the park. Stanciu’s display overshadowing a dreadful performance from over-hyped Juventus playmaker Paul Labile Pogba. Pogba was hauled off near the end and Didier Deschamps‘ gamble paid off. Anthony Martial replaced Pogba and immediately had an impact. A Martial run down the right created space for N’Golo Kanté to set up Payet to angle a wonderful strike into the top corner a minute from time to win it for the hosts. France were less than convincing and didn’t deserve to win a game settled by a moment of brilliance from Payet. Romania will take heart from the performance but know that only a win against a dangerous Swiss side next up will give them a chance of progressing to the next stage.

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