Euro 2016: 7 Things We Learned From France 2-1 Romania


N’Golo Kante Is World Class. End Of.

The Leicester City midfielder has forced his way into this French team from nowhere. Now, he must be the first name on the teamsheet. He is that good.

He performs the same function as he does for the Foxes, by erecting a brick wall in front of the defence and cloning himself four times in order to win the ball back, no matter where he is on the pitch. It really is quite phenomenal. The Makelele role is a thing of the past.

The presence of the diminutive ball of energy in the centre of the park allows the attacking foursome to do what they please and, most importantly, frees up Paul Pogba to worry about being Paul Pogba. Blaise Matuidi becomes the Danny Drinkwater of the situation and France have a midfield that can protect and produce. 

 

This Is Certainly Going To Be a Colourful Tournament

 

France Are Tale Of Two Teams In One

France’s strengths and weaknesses were laid bare here. They looked superb in attack and created plenty of chances. The trio behind Giroud were superb and the movement and trickery on show was, at times, a delight. And that Payet goal.

Nevertheless, they are vulnerable. Patrice Evra had a poor game at left-back and looked very bit his 35 years. That culminated in him foolishly giving away the penalty that allowed Romania to equalise.

It is at the back where they look poor. Rami has been called out for his lack of quality but they are easy to get at on the flanks. Basically, bypass Kante and you’re at the defence. If they are to win this tournament they need to tighten up across the pitch, whether that is a change in personnel or mind-set. Either way, Romania could have won this game. France need a leader in that back four.

 

 

He Loves It When You Call Him Big Popa (even Though He's Really Small)

The Romanian’s are not as negative as we were told they would be. Coming into this tournament it was all about how they had only conceded twice in qualifying. The feeling was that they would sit deep and just try and keep France out.

How wrong that idea was. They played a high line and had a real go at the hosts. Creating chances and scaring the French on numerous occasions.

No one encapsulated that more than Adrian Popa, who looks like a Romanian Andy Reid and really impressed. He gave the vastly experienced Patrice Evra a torrid time and he is a player to keep an eye on in this tournament. Especially when he allows for Notorious BIG related puns.

 

PPG Are Going To Be The Tournament’s Most Abbreviated Trio

The trio in behind the striker are the men who can win this Championships for the hosts, and if this is anything to go on, they have a real chance of lifting the trophy. 

Pogba is immense. He patrols the midfield with a reassuring swagger and his distribution is second to none. This could well be the Juve man’s tournament.

In combination with the wonderful Griezmann and the constantly probing Payet, they look a force that at times border on unstoppable. Just ask the Romanian keeper who waved as the West Ham man scored the goals of the Euros on the first night of the tournament. All they need to do is sort it out behind this creative three.

 

Opening Ceremonies Will Always Be Football’s Greatest Oddity And David Guetta Will Never Be Necessary 

 

 

Adil Rami Is An Accident Waiting To Happen

The inclusion of the Sevilla defender in the starting XI was questioned and rightly so. He looked a class below those around him from the off. The 30-year-old started proceedings with a nervy header that almost led to the Romanians scoring from the resulting corner.

He was constantly under pressure, which is never a good sign from a centre-back. The amount of times he gave the ball away was massively alarming, while he gave free-kick away from early on.

It may have been a case of nerves but he is undoubtedly the weak link of this French outfit. His manager is a big fan but the absences of Sakho and Varane will be felt massively at some point in this tournament. Most Les Bleus fans would be more than happy to see Mangala in the team at some point. It's that bad.