France opens Euro 2016 slipping past Romania

Published Wednesday, June 15, 2016 5:03 PM by Patrick Nuss

Between strikes, flooding, and terrorist attacks, the European Championships were a much needed break for the host country of France- a chance for the people to forget about their recent struggles and enjoy the beautiful game. The tournament kicked off with a highly anticipated match between the hosts and little Romania, each of which looked to get their Euro 2016 campaign off to a flying start.

France came into the game not having played a competitive game in over two years, having automatically qualified for the tournament by being the host nation, and regardless of that, by running through their competition in the qualifying rounds. Romania, on the other hand, took it to the wire by only qualifying for the tournament with a 3-0 win over the Faroe Islands in their last game.

With over 80,000 fans in attendance at the famed Stade de France, the referee blew his whistle and the match began. Romania looked dangerous from the beginning with an early corner kicked that was flicked on at the near post finding a Romanian player at the back post merely 3 yards out from goal. Onlookers were left scratching their heads, however, as the player sent his finish straight at Hugo Lloris.

The game was end to end, and it did not take long for France to engineer a couple of chances of their own, as Olivier Giroud flashed a header just wide of the near post, and Antione Griezman saw himself played through on goal, only to crack a header off the post. The two sides went into the half deadlocked 0-0, and each team would have been thinking that they should be leading.

Romania started brightly again, and Stancu should have done better with a volley in the early moments of the second half, as he wound up sending his shot just wide of the right After this miss, France seemed to come to life, and it was thanks in no small part to West Ham’s

Dimitri Payet, who was the best player on the pitch by miles. He created chance after chance for Les Bleus, and it was his cross that finally saw Olivier Giroud head home in the 57 th minute after some weak goalkeeping to give France the lead. France seemed to be in total control after this goal, but Romania never gave up, and their never say die attitude was rewarded in the 65 th minute after veteran defender Patrice Evra brought down Nicolae Stancliu in the box on a very lazy tackle, giving the official no choice but to point to the spot. Penalty!

This was the moment for Romania, and up stepped Stancu, who did the job. 1-1, and viewers across the world were left wondering if Romania would carry on to go win the game. They were certainly not short of confidence, however, France’s Dimitri Payet had other ideas. After orchestrating 8 different chances for the French, he finally took things into his own hands as he scored a worldie on the cusp of the final whistle. Slipping into a pocket like he does so often, he opened up to receive the ball 20 yards out, and buried a shot with his weaker left foot into the top left corner, giving the helpless Pantilimon no chance. 2-1 to France, and that was the game. Payet was subbed off to receive a much deserved standing ovation, and Les Bleus were sent to the top of group A with 3 points.

Some things to take away from the game: Romania look a decent side. With results against a weak Albania and unconvincing Switzerland, they may be able to escape from the group. France look, as expected, fabulous in the attack. Their defense, however, not so much. Centerback Remi, filling in for an injured Varane, was constantly exploited by the Romanians, and Evra showed his age, cheaply giving the ball away and getting beat on several occasions.

Finally, Payet seems to be growing in confidence and value with every game he plays. If France are to go far in the tournament, they must get him the ball, a message that will surely be conveyed to the squad by head coach Didier Deschamps.

All in all, it was thrilling contest, and if the rest of the Euros go anything like that, then get your popcorn ready, we should be in for a treat!