Friday 10th June. 8PM. ITV 1
The waiting is over: Euro 2016 is here! And what better way to kickstart the action than seeing the pre-tournament favourites take to the field in front of their home supporters.
Host nation France will be looking to repeat the feats of ‘84 and ‘98 by winning another tournament on home soil. However, Romania will be out to spoil the party in this Group A opener. Whatever happens, it should be a fascinating first night at the Stade de France.
Bring it on!
Les Bleus Gunning For Glory
After two years of waiting, Didier Deschamps men will finally get their teeth into their hoe tournament. And they’ll have high hopes of going all the way to pick up their first major trophy since Euro 2000.
Les Bleus have got a very solid squad too. Despite not taking Karim Benzema, Deschamps has the likes of Anthony Martial, Kingsley Coman, Dimitri Payet, Olivier Giroud, and Antoine Griezmann at his disposal. With a relatively easy Group A on their hands, those players will be eager to score plenty of goals, starting with this opener against Romania.
Tournament-winning teams also need strong foundations, and the spine of Hugo Lloris, Elilaquim Mangala and co should provide it. Meanwhile, N’golo Kante could be the key to allowing Paul Pogba the peace needed to dominated.
In one sense, France are stepping into the world of unknown. On paper, though, they’ve got one of the strongest sides in the tournament. With home advantage on their side, they’ll be desperate to thrive. A win here could be the perfect platform.
Romania Out For An Upset
Away from Costel Pantilimon and Vlad Chiriches, most casual fans won’t recognise many of Anghel Iordanescu’s squad. However, the Romanians are 22nd in the world rankings for a reason and will be confident of reaching the last 16 at least. Even a draw in this Group A opener would give them a fantastic opportunity to do just that.
Romania can be quietly optimistic about causing an upset here, especially as they went unbeaten in qualifying. The experience of Razvan Rat, Bogdan Stancu and Gabriel Torje could be crucial as they prepare for only their second tournament since crashing out of the last eight at Euro 2000.
It certainly won’t be easy for Tricolorii, particularly as all eyes will be on them in this tournament opener. But the expected two banks of four can look to frustrate their more illustrious opponents with a disciplined defensive showing. Meanwhile, the fact France have a record of either performing or completely flopping could play into Romania’s hands too.
One way or another, this will be a cracking opening contest to what should be a brilliant tournament. Let’s just hope we can pick up some early profit too.
France v Romania Betting Tips
Unsurprisingly, the hosts enter the tournament opener as firm favourites at odds of 2/7 with Bet365. Alternatively, Romania can be backed at 12/1 while the draw is available at 15/4.
France will be desperate to start the tournament on fire. If nothing else, an early goal will settle the nerves for the pre-tournament favourites. And they have more than enough attacking quality to get it.
The host nation’s frontline is arguably the most exciting in the entire tournament, and we’re backing them to break the deadlock before the interval. Once they take the lead, there should be no looking back for Les Bleues.
It’s hard to predict the starting XI for a side that hasn’t played competitively in two years, particularly as the likes of Kante and Payet have pushed themselves into contention late on. Whatever team Deschamps goes with, we’re expecting a big display.
A big performance would go along to building the confidence for what should be a big tournament for Les Bleus. At 7/1, we’re backing the hosts to win 3-0.