After a somewhat quiet first half, France and Romania opened up for a thrilling second half as the hosts grab all three points thanks to a marvelous goal from Dimitri Payet just before full-time.
France, who many have picked as favorites in this competition, started out slowly and had trouble creating chances in the first half. Apart from Payet, who was far and way the man of the match, not many of France’s attacking players were able to impact the game in the first half. It could have been first match jitters, or it could have just been a resolute Romania side who had only allowed five goals during qualifying.
The second half, on the other hand, saw goals. Early in the half, Olivier Giroud found the back of the net after connecting with a Payet cross. The Romanian keeper, Ciprian Tatarusanu, didn’t do his best to get to the ball, but it was no less an impressive cross from Payet and finish from Giroud.
With the Stade de France coming alive it looked as if France were ready to take control of the match, but less than ten minutes after the opening goal, Patrice Evra gave away a penalty which the Romanian striker Bogdan Stancu scored. France’s hard work had been undone.
The match seemed to settle down from this point, Romania seemed content with defending a 1-1 score line for the remaining 20 minutes. Didier Deschamps began making subs as Griezmann and Pogba made way for Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial who gave the French team a little more width.
But it was, of course, Payet that would make the biggest impact in the match before the final whistle. With proceedings coming to an end, the West Ham man went from likely man of the match to unquestionable hero for the French team in a matter of seconds. A bullet of a shot from outside the 18-yard-box found the net and Payet exuberantly celebrated with his teammates.
Payet’s performance will inspire plenty of confidence among the team, especially if the supporting cast around him can pick up their play. While France was deserved winners, if they hope to lift the trophy in Paris in a month’s time, they’ll need more from like likes of Pogba and Griezmann.
France head to Marseille on Wednesday to take on Albania while Romania will be back in action against Switzerland in Paris also on Wednesday.