The opening match of Euro 2016 between France and Romania ended with a wonderful goal by Dimitri Payet, giving the hosts the smooth start they were hoping for, establishing themselves on top of Group A.
France 2 Romania 1: One of those matches that is decided regardless of who won the tactical battle. Romania played the right kind of match for them. Pressuring France’s weak spots (Mostly Patrice Evra) and enjoying the quality of their creative foursome, they made the hosts uncomfortable for long stretches of the match. In the end, it was one controversial goal by Olivier Giroud (57th minute), as he elbowed goalkeeper Ciprian Tătărușanu to score off of a Dimitri Payet cross; and Payet scoring himself, rocketing in the winner with his weak foot, leaving Romania with injury time to try and equalize. Romania scored their goal in the 65th minute. A soft penalty given for Bogdan Stancu to convert.
Group A Table
|1||France||1||1||0||0||2||1||+1||3||Advance to knockout phase|
|3||Switzerland||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||Possible knockout phase|
What did we learn: France have defensive problems, especially on the flanks, as expected. They have strength, speed and power to combine up front, and yet Giroud continues to make everyone feel like he’s not going to be enough. Payet has established himself as the side’s best player and the creative force behind everything, while Paul Pogba has to be the player he is for Juventus, or France will end up being disappointed. For Romania, the question has to be whether or not they’ll be able to play this way against Albania and Switzerland. Counter attacking football is nice, but in order to qualify, they’ll have to take the initiative for more than just a few minutes every time.
1. Olivier Giroud (France), Bogdan Stancu (Romania), Dimitri Payet (France): 1 goal