Payet is hero, as France beat Romania in EURO 2016 opener

It was a blue day in Paris yesterday, as host France defeated a resilient Romania 2-1 on the opening day of EURO 2016 Championship. It took a 25-yard cracker by Dimitri Payet for the Blues to win the game in the 89th minute.

In 2014, Payet thought he was going to the World Cup in Brazil. He was involved in every qualifying game but was later dropped.

“Tonight you saw a man who was hurt,” former France International, Thierry Henry said in his commentary on BBC Radio 5 live. “He was saying with that performance ‘you didn’t take me to the World Cup and I am going to show you’. He wanted every single ball. You can’t win a game by yourself, but that strike… oh my gosh,” Henry said.

The goal was an epitome of beauty. Payet picked the ball around 30 yards out, looks up and unleashes a spectacular drive, which arrows into the top corner of the Romanian net with the goalkeeper unmoved

A tearful Payet, overcome with emotion, was substituted by Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko three minutes to the end of the match.

Striker Olivier Giroud scored the opener for France in the 57th minutes through a header from Payet cross. Giroud had scored eight goals in his last six starts for France.

Romanians were exceptional in the first half and incredibly brave. Many had thought their resolve would go after they conceded, but they kept at it and got back into it. It was a soft one but it was a penalty from the boot of Bogdan Stancu in the 65th minute.

“Let’s not forget Romania played really well. They are unfortunate and have lost because Dimitri Payet happened,” Henry said.

Meanwhile, at 19 years and 362 days, Kingsley Coman became the youngest player to play for France in a major international tournament yesterday. Another young striker, Anthony Martial also featured for France in yesterday’s game.

The victory yesterday was a good way for hosts France to make their mark in the championship.

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