France 2-1 Romania: Payet star of the show for hosts on opening night

By Andy Hyslop

  • Payet assists opening goal and scores winner
  • Martial and Schneiderlin start the game of the bench for France

Hosts France got their Euro 2016 campaign off to a winning start thanks to a late strike from West Ham’s Dimitri Payet. United stars Martial and Schneiderlin started the game on the bench for France.

Pre-game, much of the talk regarding what the French starting line-up would be was selection between Payet and Martial for the spot on the left-hand side of French attack.

Didier Deschamps opted for the West Ham, with Martial having settle for a place on the French bench alongside United team-mate Schneiderlin.

Romania came into the tournament with the best defensive record in qualifying. Pointing to that the fact that the Romanians would be well organised and look to hit France on the counter and make the most of any attacking set-pieces.

Romania were almost in front from their first set-piece of the match but Stancu couldn’t find a way past Lloris in the French goal.

After that opening chance for the Romanians, it was France who started to take control of the game with Payet involved in any good moves for the French.

The best chance for the French in the first-half came when Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann headed against a post.

The second-half started in similar fashion to the first with Stancu having the first chance for Romania. France were looking for offside as Stancu controlled the ball before volleying just wide of the post.

Oliver Giroud then gave France the lead on 58 minutes when the Arsenal striker headed home from a Payet cross.

The lead only last seven minutes for the French as the Romanians were awarded a penalty after former United defender Evra clipped Stanciu in the area. Despite his two earlier misses, Stancu stepped up for Romania to level the game.

On 77 minutes Anthony Martial was introduced in place of Paul Pogba, at first it seemed a strange move but the introduction of Martial allowed Payet to take up a more free role.

Just as the game looked like heading for a draw, up step Payet to strike an 89th minute wonder strike with his supposedly weaker foot.

Much of the talk in the build-up to the competition had been of what influence Pogba, Griezmann or Martial could have on this tournament but Payet was star of the show on opening night.

About Andrew Hyslop 398 Articles
Creator of Sir Alex Ferguson Way and writer of football books

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