— UEFA EURO 2016 (@UEFAEURO) June 10, 2016
Dimitri Payet was once again the hero for France, as he won the game for the hosts with a sensational last-minute strike.
Olivier Giroud scored the first goal of the Euro 2016 tournament in the 57th minute of the game, meeting Dimitri Payet’s cross from the right wing with a header and putting the ball into the back of the net. France then conceded a penalty around the 64th minute, as veteran fullback Patrice Evra made a foolish foul inside the box. The spot kick was calmly converted by Bogdan Stancu, thereby leveling the game for Romania.
The opener looked set to end up as a draw, but West Ham star man Dimitri Payet stepped up on the big occasion, and scored a sensational winner for his country in the 89th minute. The 29-year-old made space for himself just outside the box, and then brilliantly curled the ball with his left foot into the top corner of the net from 25 yards out.
Patrice Evra was full of praise for Payet, as he stated: “This is the real Dimitri, the Dimi we love. To sign to West Ham and go to England made him good. He knows he is an important player for the team, but he also makes the efforts. If he continues to score in the top corner, it’s great for France.”
He also talked about his team’s performance against Romania, saying: “France have not played in official matches for two years, there was a lot of apprehension. We were very shy in the first half. But we must still congratulate the Romanian team. I think there are many people who thought it was going to be easy, but the coach [Didier Deschamps] had warned us.”
The Juventus defender also talked about his foul which won Romania the penalty: “I can do better. I was annoyed to create this penalty for my team-mates. But what interests me tonight is not my performance but really this state of mind. If you see my interviews before the competition starts, I said I want the fans to be proud of this team. And I think they can be proud tonight.”
On the other hand, Romania manager Anghel Iordanescu remained optimistic about qualifying for the knockout stages despite facing a defeat in their opening game.
He was quoted as saying: “France are clearly superior to us. Didier Deschamps has class players available, who play in the Champions League and Europa League. Mine play in Turkey, Bulgaria, Israel and Qatar. But that does not mean that we have surrendered. We all have the same goal – to move groups. “