France beats Romania to kick off EURO 2016
0:50 | Planet Futbol
France beats Romania to kick off EURO 2016
SI Staff
Friday June 10th, 2016

France earned three points the hard way in its Euro 2016 opener against Romania, with Dimitri Payet serving up the heroics at the Stade de France.

Payet's incredible 20-yard blast in the 89th minute secured the 2-1 victory on Friday, with his left-footed shot earmarked for the upper left-hand corner of the net.

The expectations are massive on Les Bleus, who are aiming to win another major trophy on home soil after the 1984 European Championship and 1998 World Cup. The French midfield and attack is loaded, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Payet, Blaise Matuidi, Olivier Giroud, N'Golo Kante, Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman leading the way for Didier Deschamps's side. 

Romania countered with a defense that only conceded twice in 10 Euro 2016 qualifying matches, but it was its attack that stirred the pot in the early moments.

Bogdan Stancu nearly stunned the host nation mere minutes into the competition, but Hugo Lloris came up with a point-blank save to avert disaster at the onset.

Antoine Griezmann nearly got France on the board about 10 minutes later. He whiffed on a one-time attempt off a cross, but the ball popped up for him to head, and he put it off the post:

Griezmann had a chance go wide, and Giroud headed over the bar to end the first half, and at the start of the second, it was Stancu, again, who nearly scored. He took a cross down of his chest and volleyed from close range, but he put his chance wide of the mark:

Giroud finally opened the scoring for France in the 57th minute, getting his head to Payet's cross moments after another Payet cross teed up Pogba for a volley that was saved. Romania goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu was the hero on the Pogba effort, but he misplayed Payet's cross, allowing Giroud to head home:

Stancu made good on his third opportunity for Romania, getting a gift from the penalty spot. Patrice Evra was the guilty party, and Stancu sent Lloris the wrong way to equalize:

Payet scored the go-ahead strike in the 88th minute, adding to his man-of-the-match credentials. His left-footed blast from distance to the upper left-hand corner may wind up being the goal of the tournament, and it put France ahead 2-1:


Payet was subbed off in the final moments, leaving the field with raw emotion as he received a worthy standing ovation:


France and Romania will play Albania and Switzerland in their remaining Group A matches.

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