France’s feast of football is mere hours away and there are high hopes across the host nation that Didier Deschamps can replicate the feats of 1984 and 1998 – guiding Les Bleus to victory on home soil.
The extravagantly talented French squad will have the ideal to prove their worth at the Stade de France when they take on a Romania side playing in only their second major tournament in the last 16 years.
However France have slipped up in a tournament’s opening game before. Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry and Lilian Thuram were among the stars struck by Senegal in the 2002 World Cup opener, setting the tone for a disastrous tournament.
Though a defeat would not be as disastrous at a tournament where 16 of 24 teams qualify for the knockout round France will be desperate to send out a commanding message to their potential rivals in the later rounds. Can they do so?
Ones to watch
France may be blessed with a host of top names, especially in midfield, but few are as exceptional as Paul Pogba. The Juventus star can play as a number 10 or an anchorman and has already been showing he can replicate his best form in blue.
Tottenham fans may not have fond memories of Vlad Chiriches from his season at White Hart Lane but he remains a key player for Anghel Iordanescu, who has made the 26-year-old his captain.
Team news and probable line ups
The key talking point in France’s warm-up fixtures has been whether Olivier Giroud should lead the line in the absence of Karim Benzema, who Deschamps did not consider due to ongoing legal issues. The Arsenal forward was booed in Monday’s win over Cameroon in Nantes but has hit back at his critics, scoring three in two friendly wins over the Indomitable Lions and Scotland.
West Ham star Dimitri Payet can also expect to feature after scoring a free-kick in the Cameroon win. Antoine Griezmann or Kingsley Coman could also feature in a front three whilst Adil Rami will be drafted into a backline short of injured duo Raphael Varane and Jeremy Mathieu.
France: Lloris, Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Evra, Pogba, Kante, Matuidi, Coman, Payet, Giroud
Romania ended their preparations for Euro 2016 on a high-note, hammering five past Georgia in Bucharest. Having conceded just two goals in 10 qualifying games Iordanescu’ side have cut loose in their warmup games and also netted three against Ukraine in Turin.
It has come at something of a cost though, with the second and third goals against Ukraine not coming until after Romania had conceded four. Iordanescu will be desperate for his side to recover their discipline before they step out at the Stade de France.
Romania: Tatarusanu, Sapunaru, Chiriches, Grigore, Rat, Pintilii, Hoban, Torje, Stanciu, Stancu, Andone