Euro 2016 kicked of last night, and as a special feature, we take look at the performances of players who ply their trade in the English Premier League to see how they did.
The Tottenham number one captained his side to a memorable victory over the Romanians. He was on hand in preventing his team from going behind in the opening minutes when he saved the ball right on the line after a shaky start to the match. Overall he had a good night and would have loved to keep a clean sheet. His distribution and calmness on the ball was very impressive and vital in the end in securing a victory over a Romanian side who were determined not to make it easy for them.
Arsenal’s center back had a not so memorable game as it was evident in the opening exchanges his lack of chemistry with his partner Rami who was a late inclusion into the French side due to injuries to other players. The Romanians almost exploited that weakness on several occasions but were unsuccessful nonetheless. He however on an individual assessment had a good game, making vital interceptions to keep his team from going behind early on.
Manchester City’s right back was in action for his country last night. He was tidy at the back overall and his overlapping runs were also critical in attack for the team. His cross for Griezmann in the first was close to setting up the opener but the Athletico man missed the ball entirely. Sagna provided good cover and tackled well.
Leicester City’s main man in the defensive midfield role in their title winning campaign last season. Kante proved to be exactly that for Les Blues. He tidied up things and made some crucial tackles. He shielded the back four well and came good for his team. Considering this was his first competitive game for the French National Team, it will take some time for him to fully have the influence and command he is used to having in that role.
Match winner and best player on the pitch by a mile. Payet pulled all the right strings in the game to showcase his brilliance. He provided the cross for Giroud’s opener and unleashed a real thunderbolt from the edge of the box with his left foot to clinch it for Les Blues. The West Ham ace put in a virtuoso performance and his goal was worthy of winning any match – it’s also an early contender for goal of the tournament. It is very clear that he is going to be integral for the team as the tournament goes on and with performances like these, he might not remain a Hammer for long.
Not the fans’ favorite heading into this game considering his poor club form getting to the tail end of the season. Olivier Giroud proved his doubters wrong with the opener in the second half, latching onto Payet’s cross. But in the first half it looked like he was going to have a long night – missing a couple of chances. He grew into the game though and was rewarded for his persistence when he grabbed the goal. That takes his tally now to 8 goals in 8 matches for the national team. Not bad! But as is the case with Giroud, consistency has been his weak point which he must correct to help France win the tournament.
He came on as a substitute in the second half for Paul Pogba in the 77th minute. The Manchester United youngster showed sparks of his pace and had a snapshot after some link up play with Giroud which the keeper saved comfortably. Didn’t have enough time to influence the game though but will be hoping for more opportunities later in the tournament.