So, finally there was a stage that football lovers from across the globe were looking for, yes Euro 2016 started with the host France taking on Romania. The match, which started one of the favorite tournaments for the soccer followers, had some things which one could see during the ninety minutes of play. Here is a listing of five of these salient things.
Dimitri Payet can rise up to the occasion
While everyone expected the likes of Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann to set some fireworks for France, it was Payet who stole the show. He has speed, continues to be in great form and has the creative spark which can rip defenses apart.
Not only did he score the winning goal, he created 8 chances for his teammates.
Defense looks a bit shaky for France
The pairing of Koscielny and Rami looked sloppy at times. And so did Patrice Evra, who gave away a penalty. Rami is certainly the weak link in the strong France side. He looked very nervous and gave away the ball many times.
It won’t be surprising if we see Mangala replacing him at the heart of France’s defense. France sorely miss the absence of Sakho and Varane.
The defense issues further increase the importance of Hugo Lloris in the side who’s performances would be vital for France in the later stages.
Ngolo Kante is a machine!
Three tackles, five interceptions and an assist as Ngolo Kante showed the world again the world class midfielder he is. He continues to be a wall protecting the French defense. He gives Paul Pogba the creative freedom and also makes it easy for Blaise Matuidi.
If Dimitri Payet was the best player in the game Ngolo Kante was a close second, continuing his meteoric rise.
Do not count Romania out
Romania were a tougher test for France than they would have expected.
They are not very good going forward but have a great line of defense with Superstar like Vlad Chiriches and the experienced Razvan Rat. They just conceded two goals in qualifying.
They deserved the penalty and the two goals they conceded were because of a goalkeeping error and a brilliant strike from Payet.
The Romanians also displayed some great work-rate. They’d face comparatively easier opponents in Albania and Switzerland.
France will only get better
France are great going forward and things will only get better for them as they will link well behind Giroud, who should have silenced his critics with 8 goals in 6 games.
The trio of Pogba, Payet and Griezmann behind him is what the Arsenal man could have dreamed of.
The presence of Kante and Matuidi ensures they have a midfield that can protect the defense as well as produce the goals. The fullbacks can produce great runs despite their age and have a world-class goalkeeper in Hugo Loris. Koscielny is a great defender and if Rami steps up France would be nothing short if a perfect team.