KEIR RADNEDGE in PARIS: Romania coach Anghel Iordanescu fears he may struggle to bring his players back up to speed after a last-minute goal saw them beaten 2-1 by France in the Opening Match of Euro 2016 in the Stade de France.
The outsiders produced a disciplined performance, showed more attacking instincts than had been expected but paid the price for never mastering man of the match Dmitri Payet who struck the late, late winner for the hosts.
Earlier Olivier Giroud had headed France in front with a goal which the Romanians disputed, accusing the Arsenal player of fouling keeper Ciprian Tatasuranu. Even so they levelled within eight minutes through a penalty from Bogdan Stancu before succumbing so late.
Iordanescu, in his third stint as national coach, said: “I think we played a good match with both positives and negatives. We started the first half in excellent fashion and had a very rare opportunity that the French goalkeeper was able to save. Had we scored it would have changed the whole match.
“At the start of the second half we got into the box a great deal but unfortunately Stancu missed a chance again.”
Iordanescu said that France had caused his team “some tricky spells” while praising his players for sticking to his tactical orders. But he was not happy about both French goals. He refused to discuss Giroud’s goal and admitted that “it really hurts to lose a game in the 89th minute.”
That said, Iordanescu was generous enough to recognise the quality of Payet’s strike, saying: “It was a fabulous strike from a wonderful player.”
Recovery from such a blow will be difficult.
Iordanescu said: “The players were very disappointed and it will be very difficult to re-establish their fitness because they are absolutely exhausted. Then there is also the psychological aspect which is very important in this sort of tournament.”