SAINT-DENIS, France, Sporting Alert – A stunning left-footed laser strike from Dimitri Payet guided France to a 2-1 victory over Romania to win their opening Group A game at the Euro 2016 at the Stade de France on Friday (10).
Payet, who was the best player on the pitch even before his goal, confirmed his Man of the Match honour with a stunning strike with his left foot in the 89th minute to thrill the packed stadium.
“Romania made it difficult for us and it took us time to get into the game especially as there was a lot of emotion,” he said.
“To be here tonight and score is the result of a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifices. I wouldn’t have thought at the start of the season that I’d be here, there was some pressure on arriving at the stadium but I came to enjoy myself.”
Payet also role a part in France’s opening goal after the West Ham United man found Olivier Giroud, who headed home in the 57th minute.
Romania, though, leveled the score in the 65th minute from the penalty spot through Bogdan Stancu.
Payet left the pitch with tears in his eyes to a standing ovation, and rightfully so.
Star midfielder Paul Pogba was on able to stamp his authority in the midfield and Juventus player was substituted late in the second half.
The former Manchester United playmaker was visibly unhappy with being replaced, while Antoine Griezmann, who also failed to spark in the attack, was also sub out.
“It wasn’t easy to play this Romanian team,” said France coach Didier Deschamps. “We had chances but gave them some too.
“It was difficult to … relax but it’s important to win the first match. The opening game is never easy and it’s a great platform.”
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Romania team to play France: Sapunaru, Chiriches, Grigore, Rat, Pintilii, Hoban, Popa, Stanciu, Stancu, Andone. Subs: Pantilimon, Matel, Moti, Chipciu, Alibec, Torje, Keseru, Gaman, Filip, Sanmartean, Prepelita, Lung