June 10, 2016

PARIS (AP) The Latest from soccer's European Championship (all times local):

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12: 00 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande has praised the country's transport and security services for their handling of the opening match.

Speaking before France's 2-1 win over Romania at Stade de France on Friday, Hollande said everything is being done to ''make a success'' of the European Championship.

He said spectators were able to get to the stadium with ''no difficulty at all'' and that everything ''went smoothly'' on the trains and the metro (subway) and for those driving.

''As for security, everybody has kept to the rules - and that's very important,'' he said. ''There are 20,000 Romanians here who have also been subjected to the same checks and they completely understood.''

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11:45 p.m.

Dimitri Payet, who scored France's late winner against Romania, said ''there was a lot of stress, a lot of pressure'' on the team as it started its quest for a third European Championship title.

''If someone had told me it would have gone like that I wouldn't have believed it,'' Payet said through a translator after his team's 2-1 victory. Payet was substituted in injury time and left the field in tears.

Payet set up Olivier Giroud's opener and, after Bogdan Stancu's equalizer, curled in the winner from outside the penalty area in the 89th minute at the Stade de France.

Romania coach Anghel Iordanescu said it ''really hurts'' to throw away a point so late in the match.

Iordanescu said through a translator that ''it will be very difficult to re-establish the players' physical form and their fitness because they are absolutely exhausted. They also need to consider the psychological aspect which is important in this tournament.''

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11:30 p.m.

Former Manchester United managers Alex Ferguson and David Moyes are working together at the European Championship.

The two Scotsmen are part of UEFA's 13-member group of technical observers analyzing each of the 51 matches.

Ferguson joined UEFA as its coaching ambassador when he retired after 27 years at Old Trafford. Moyes succeeded him and left eight months later.

The UEFA technical group will pick the best player in each match, the best players of the tournament, and nominate candidates for best goal to be picked in fan votes.

They will also study tactical trends for a report to be published later this year.

UEFA says other members of the expert group include former players Alain Giresse of France, Savo Milosevic of Yugoslavia and Packie Bonner of Ireland.

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10:55 p.m.

Dimitri Payet scored a late goal to give host France a 2-1 victory over Romania in the opening match of the European Championship.

The West Ham winger curled a shot from outside the penalty area into the top corner in the 89th minute at the Stade de France.

Payet set up the French opener in the 58th, whipping in a cross that Olivier Giroud headed into the net. But France defender Patrice Evra tripped Nicolae Stanciu in the area and Bogdan Stancu equalized for Romania from the penalty spot in the 65th.

Both teams still have to play Albania and Switzerland in Group A.

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10:54 p.m.

France beats Romania 2-1 in the opening match of the European Championship.

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10:48 p.m.

GOAL: Dimitri Payet scores for France in the 89th minute. France leads Romania 2-1.

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10:29 p.m.

Bogdan Stancu has equalized for Romania from the penalty spot, making the score 1-1 against France in the opening match of the European Championship.

Stancu slotted the spot kick into the net in the 65th minute at the Stade de France after France defender Patrice Evra tripped Nicolae Stanciu.

It came seven minutes after Olivier Giroud's goal in the Group A match.

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10:25 p.m.

GOAL: Bogdan Stancu scores for Romania from the penalty spot in the 65th minute. France and Romania are now even at 1-1.

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10:19 p.m.

Olivier Giroud has given France a 1-0 lead over Romania in the opening match of the European Championship.

The Arsenal forward headed into the net after meeting Dimitri Payet's cross in the 58th minute at the Stade de France.

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10:16 p.m.

GOAL: Olivier Giroud scores for France in the 58th minute. France leads Romania 1-0.

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9:48 p.m.

Antoine Griezmann had the best chance of the first 45 minutes when he hit the post with a header, leaving France and Romania at 0-0 at halftime in the opening match of the European Championship.

The France forward hit the woodwork 14 minutes into the Group A game after Bacary Sagna curled in a cross from the right flank that deflected off Romania defender Vlad Chiriches.

Griezmann also went wide from Dimitri Payet's cutback pass as France couldn't break through a Romania side that only conceded twice in its 10 qualifiers.

France had to be rescued by its captain, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, in the fourth minute at the Stade de France. Lloris blocked Bogdan Stancu's close-range shot.

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9:20 p.m.

France's interior minister says that his ministry's crisis room will be open non-stop throughout Euro 2016. The country is in a state of emergency following deadly attacks last year.

Bernard Cazeneuve briefly opened the basement room to reporters on Friday, the opening day of the tournament. Police monitored TV screens with film from surveillance cameras around France. But the crisis room door will be open to representatives of other ministries.

''This inter-ministerial crisis room will be open continuously throughout'' the championship, Cazeneuve said. ''This will help coordination between all authorities who might intervene during this big sports event.''

The minister said that some 90,000 security agents are mobilized around stadiums, fan zones and streets ''for optimal security conditions.''

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9:05 p.m.

The European Championship is underway, with host France kicking off about a minute late against Romania at the Stade de France.

The start of the Group A opener followed an opening ceremony featuring a set by French DJ David Guetta on the field.

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8:55 p.m.

Police have fired tear gas again in Marseille, dispersing fans who have stayed in and around the Old Port chanting and singing songs.

The police fired tear gas Thursday night and again Friday afternoon and evening, as many England fans stayed in the area drinking ahead of their team's opening match against Russia on Saturday.

The scenes appeared to start to calm Friday evening after police handcuffed a man in a red England shirt, but things heated up a short time later with people getting rowdy again. More tear gas was used and soon police began chasing some fans who had been fighting.

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7:50 p.m.

Dimitri Payet and N'Golo Kante will start for France in the opening match of the European Championship against Romania, a reward for their strong seasons in England.

Kante helped Leicester win the Premier League title, while Payet was a key player for West Ham. Neither player was in the squad a few months ago.

France coach Didier Deschamps also picked Adil Rami, a late call-up after a series of injuries to defenders, to start alongside Laurent Koscielny in the center of the back four.

Romania will hope to stifle a loaded French attack with a strong defense, anchored by captain Vlad Chriches, that conceded the fewest goals in qualifying - only two in 10 matches and none away from home.

Florin Andone has overcome a late injury scare to lead the forward line alone for coach Anghel Iordanescu.

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7:48 p.m.

Here are the lineups for Friday's match between France and Romania at the Stade de France:

France: Hugo Lloris, Bacary Sagna, Adil Rami, Laurent Koscielny, Patrice Evra, Blaise Matuidi, N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Dimitri Payet.

Romania: Ciprian Tatarusanu, Cristian Sapunaru, Vlad Chiriches, Dragos Grigore, Razvan Rat, Ovidiu Hoban, Mihai Pintilii, Adrian Popa, Nicolae Stanciu, Bogdan Stancu, Florin Andone.

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7:45 p.m.

France's players seem to be relaxed shortly before the European Championship opener against Romania at Stade de France.

Cameras inside the tunnel leading to the France changing rooms showed left back Patrice Evra laughing and joking with forward Antoine Griezmann.

Close behind, striker Olivier Giroud walked casually with his hand in his pocket.

Host France is looking to win the tournament for the third time, after victory as host in 1984 and away from home in 2000.

Inside the stadium, which is approaching half full, French fans have started singing ''Allez Les Bleus,'' but the large contingent of yellow-shirted Romania fans is also in good voice.

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7:10 p.m.

Albania midfielder Taulant Xhaka will play against his brother Granit, who represents Switzerland, in a Group A match at the European Championship after being declared fit.

Taulant, who picked up a leg injury when playing for his club side Basel last month, and Granit will become the first siblings to play for opposing teams in the tournament's history.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's match in Lens, Albania coach Giovanni de Biasi, said Taulant's ''in terrific shape now physically and mentally'' and is ''ready'' to play.

The Xhaka brothers were born in Basel, Switzerland, to a Kosovar-Albanian family. They both played for Swiss national youth teams before Taulant decided to represent Albania at senior level. Granit, also a midfielder, opted to stay with Switzerland.

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6:55 p.m.

Fans are again clashing with riot police at Marseille's Old Port, with officers firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse supporters a day after England fans fought with local youths.

The outburst of violence Friday came despite heavy police presence a day before England is to play Russia at the European Championship in the Mediterranean port city's Stade Velodrome.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.

Earlier Friday, the English Football Association issued a statement expressing disappointment at Thursday night's violence and urging supporters ''to act in a respectful manner and enjoy the match against Russia.''

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6:50 p.m.

Spain goalkeeper David de Gea has denied a report in a Spanish newspaper that he is embroiled in a case involving a pornographic filmmaker.

De Gea, speaking at Spain's European Championship team base in western France, says he will not be leaving the national team.

De Gea, who plays for Manchester United, says the allegations are not true and he was surprised to hear about them.

De Gea says ''what is being reported by the press is all false. It's all in the hands of my lawyers.''

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6:30 p.m.

With less than three hours until kickoff, there's a calm atmosphere around Stade de France, which will host the opening match in the European Championship between France and Romania.

Amid tight security, several dozen white vans of the French CRS riot police were dotted around near the train station and down side-streets close to the stadium in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis.

On Avenue Jules Rimet - near to where a suicide bomber blew himself up on Nov. 13 outside the France-Germany friendly - a group of white-shirted police officers chatted to people queuing at a food stand.

France fan Dominik Kovacic said near the stadium that ''we are here to party and nobody will stop us from partying. We are here to have fun.''

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5:35 p.m.

Be patient.

That's the advice Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic is giving his players ahead of their opening Group A game against Albania at the European Championship on Saturday.

Albania, under Italian coach Giovanni de Biasi, has become a tough team to score against. It only conceded five goals in its eight qualifying games.

Switzerland, by contrast, was one of the qualifying round's most attacking sides with 24 goals.

During his pre-match news conference in Lens on Friday, Petkovic said his advice to his players is to ''keep calm, concentrate on our game'' and that it's going to be difficult for Albania to ''concentrate perfectly for 90 minutes.''

''We have to really have a smile on our face throughout the match,'' he said.

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5:10 p.m.

Star midfielder Paul Pogba appears to be carrying the hopes of a nation in the build up to host France's European Championship opener against Romania at Stade de France.

The headline on the front page of sports daily L'Equipe on Friday featured a large photo of Pogba alongside the words ''Refaire L'Histoire'' (Recreate History).

As host, France won the European Championship in 1984 and the World Cup in 1998 thanks mainly to a talismanic leader.

Therefore, above and below the picture of a roaring Pogba were photos of Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane - France's inspirational players when Les Bleus won Euro 84 and the 1998 World Cup.

The French Football Federation's homepage featured Pogba's face next to the face of midfield partner Blaise Matuidi, along with the words ''C'est L'Heure D'Entrer En Jeu.'' (It's Time To Play).

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4:35 p.m.

Journalists at the Stade de France were requested to leave the media center for about 10 minutes as a precautionary measure while police with sniffer dogs came in for a security check before the tournament opener.

France has been in a state of emergency since the deadly attacks on November 13 that killed 130 people around Paris and injured hundreds more, rocking the city to its core.

The November attacks began at Stade de France, where suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the stadium during France's friendly against Germany.

To ensure safety, there are unprecedented levels of security in place at Euro 2016, which begins later Friday with France vs. Romania.

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4:15 p.m.

Nelly the psychic Elephant has predicted that Germany will win its opening match at the European Championship.

The Germans, who won the World Cup two years ago and are one of the big favorites at Euro 2016 in France, will face Ukraine on Sunday in Lille.

Ahead of the match, Nelly made her choice at a zoo in northern Germany by kicking a ball and scoring into a net designated for Ukraine, indicating that team will concede more goals on Sunday.

Serengeti zoo press officer Asta Knoth says ''our 6-year-old elephant lady Nelly has predicted who will win or lose the first game in Group C of the Euro 2016 by kicking a football towards two goals. Nelly just predicted that Germany will win against Ukraine.''

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4:05 p.m.

Red could be the new orange for Dutch fans during the European Championship in France.

With the Netherlands - known as Oranje for the national color - missing out on qualification for Euro 2016, Dutch Sports Minister Edith Schippers says fans should get behind neighboring Belgium - known as the Red Devils.

''We are so close to our southern neighbors. They can use a few more supporters, so let's all go for the Belgians,'' Schippers told Dutch national broadcaster NOS on Friday. ''They have a good team, so it could be a fun tournament.''

After reaching the semifinals of the World Cup, the Netherlands - European champion in 1988 - failed to qualify for the tournament that starts Friday night in Paris when France plays Romania.

Belgium, one of the pre-tournament favorites, opens its campaign by playing Italy on Monday in Lyon.

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11:30 a.m.

Euro 2016 organizer Jacques Lambert says strikes in France have already damaged the event, and are especially hurting working class fans who depend on public transport. ''They are not transported in chauffeur-driven cars.''

''The party has already been a bit spoiled.'' He told France Inter radio.

''The image given is not the one we wanted.'' Lambert played down violence in Marseille overnight, involving England fans.

''The phenomenon of hooliganism has diminished,'' he said.

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10:30 a.m.

The Paris mayor is promising to clear all city streets of garbage by the end of the day after 12 days of strikes that have left a stinky mess - and further clouded France's image as it hosts the European Championship soccer tournament.

Unions remain determined to keep up strikes at the main Paris waste incineration plant, on commuter trains taking fans to the opening match Friday, and on Air France flights starting Saturday. The strikes are part of nationwide labor action for months aimed at forcing the government to scrap a bill extending the work week and making layoffs easier.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the city has brought in dozens of extra garbage trucks over the past two days to clear the accumulated rubbish, which is getting especially smelly in the warm, muggy weather.

''All the garbage will be collected today,'' she told BFM television Friday.

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10:00 a.m.

Two people were detained and four police officers lightly injured in violence overnight in the southern French city of Marseille involving England supporters, French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said Friday. He said the government will ensure extra security around Marseille fan areas tonight and tomorrow.

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9:30 a.m.

Trouble flared overnight in the southern French city of Marseille, where soccer supporters from England and Russia are gathering for a European Championship game on Saturday.

Witnesses said the fight, outside a pub in the Mediterranean city's Old Port district, was quickly handled by police, who used tear gas to restore calm.

Local youths were apparently involved in the trouble, along with English fans drinking in the pub.

Riot police with shields separated the two groups.

Ambulances were seen arriving just after midnight. It was not known if anyone was injured. Police said two people were arrested.

England fans were involved in violent clashes with locals in Marseille during the World Cup in 1998.

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