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Published: 21:52 | 10/6/16

Payet fires France to victory

Euro 2016 hosts beat Romania 2-1

A simply sensational strike from Dimitri Payet helped France to a hard fought 2-1 win over Romania in the opening game of Euro 2016.

After a rather laboured opening 45 minutes, France opened the scoring through Olivier Giroud early in the second period, before the visitors hit-back from the penalty spot.

Romania looked on course to claim a point, but they were undone in the final minute when Payet produced a stunning strike to kick-start his side’s campaign.

Romania started brightly and they really should have taken the lead after just six minutes.

From a corner, the ball fell to Nicolae Stanciu at the back-post, but his shot from six yards was superbly saved by Hugo Lloris.

France grew into the game after this and they created their first chance of the night after ten minutes.

Payet showed his trickery on the left before whipping in a pin-point ball that was met by Giroud, but headed wide when he really should have hit the target.

The hosts were dominant after this and they really should have taken the lead after 15 minutes. A mix-up in the Romanian defence saw the ball fall to Antoine Griezmann three yards from gaol but his header came back off the post.

Romania regrouped after this and began to frustrate the hosts as they retreated into their own half and it wasn’t until eight minutes before the break that France threatened again.

Again Payet was the architect as he found Griezmann inside the area, but the Atletico Madrid man was agonisingly off target as his effort trickled past the post to send the sides in level at the break.

The second half began much like the first with a glorious chance for Romania.

Nicolae Stanciu found time and space on the edge of the box and clipped a good ball into Bogdan Stancu who controlled on his chest but fired his volley just wide as France held on.

France again upped the tempo after this near miss and they finally broke the deadlock after 58 minutes.

Payet clipped in a cross that was met by Giroud ahead of Ciprian Tatarusanu in the Romanian goal and the striker calmly headed into an empty net to make it 1-0.

This lead didn’t last long though as Romania hit back from the penalty spot just seven minutes later.

Patrice Evra inexplicably clipped Nicolae Stanciu inside the area, the referee pointed to the spot and Bogdan Stancu stepped up and clamly slotted home the spot kick to make it 1-1.

Romania looked comfortably after the equaliser as they sat-back and frustrated the hosts, however, they were undone by a moment of pure genius in the 89th minute.

The brilliant Dimitri Payet collected the ball on the right, cut inside and hit a stunning strike from 25 yards that flew into the top corner to seal a 2-1 win for the tournament hosts.

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