West Ham player of the season strikes late to earn France a win after Olivier Giroud opener was cancelled out by Stancu’s second half penalty.
Dimitri Payet put his name on the front page of tomorrow papers after his man of the match performance was capped with an astonishing strike to ensure the hosts start the Euro 2016 with a victory.
France started slowly and no goal was recorded in the first half. They look to have woken up in the second half though after Olivier Giraud heads in a cross from Payet in the 57th minutes, but Bogdan Stancu’s penalty restore parity for the Romanians seven minutes later after Nicolae Stanciv was brought down by Patrice Evra.
The game seems to be heading for a draw until the 87th minutes when Dimitri Payet picked the ball up and unleashed a stunning strike into the top left corner of the post.
It was a deserved win for the host who will be happy to have got through a very disciplined and stubborn Romania team. The victory margin could have been wider but for the chances wasted.
There is still room for improvement though as some of the French players put in a flat performance and they will need to do more in their next game.
Anghel Iordanescu’s men might feel unlucky after putting in a great performance but the much difference in class of players he spoke about in the prematch conference is the only reason they lost. They should look to improve their performance against Switzerland and Albania so they can get to the next round.
Romania have never won their opening game at a European Championship finals tournament (D3 L2).
Romania conceded the same number of goals in this match (2) as they did in their entire Euro 2016 qualification campaign (2).
Olivier Giroud has now scored eight goals in his last six starts for France.
There has now been a penalty given in three of the last four European Championship finals opening games (2004, 2012 & 2016), with all of them coming against the host nation.
Kingsley Coman became the youngest player to play for France in a major international tournament (aged 19 years 362 days).