Euro 2016 Group A: Hosts France to thrill in Romania curtain raiser
Holly Thackeray | June 8, 2016
France v Romania
- Euro 2016 Group A
- Friday, June 10th
- Kick-off: 20:00 BST
- Stade de France, Saint-Denis
- Live on ITV
Back Les Bleus to dent Romania’s rearguard
The wait is over and the first game of Euro 2016 is finally here, as host nation France get proceedings underway, in what looks set to be a fascinating contest between French flair and a robust Romania rearguard.
These two sides last tussled in Euro 2012 qualifying Group D, and four of their past five frays have ended evenly, illustrating Anghel Iordanescu’s Tricolorii team are more than capable of spoiling the party with a draw at 4/1, especially having recently held Italy and reigning champions Spain. A lack of firepower from the Romanian roster makes a shock 11/1 win look rather unlikely, however.
Didier Deschamps’ men are odds-on 2/7 favourites to raise the campaign curtain with a victory, as Les Bleus boast a winning head-to-head record of seven triumphs from 15 previous fixtures over their first Group A opponents.
After a pre-tournament Eiffel Tower musical extravaganza, and an ambitious and undoubtedly colourful opening ceremony featuring Euros musical ambassador David Guetta, Les Bleus fans will be expecting their home heroes to begin their bid for the European Championship crown with fireworks.
So, sit back and read on as Coral writers preview the opening game of this much-anticipated tournament, bringing punters the best bets and top tips to enjoy, while football ambassador Alan Shearer gives his thoughts on the French…
Romanian rocks meet unstoppable French attacking force
Much has been inked about France’s defensive depletion after options such as Rafael Varane, Aymeric Laporte and Mamadou Sakho were ruled out as options for the Deschamps defence.
Sevilla centre half Adil Rami stepped in to secure the rearguard against Scotland in France’s last friendly 3-0 thrashing of the Tartan team, though, with Les Bleus’ backline to help their team to an 8/11 triumph to nil.
For further value on a France flutter to win, a victory for the Gallic guys and over 2.5 goals in the game is 13/10 to unfold, while the French are 15/4 to be in front after 15 minutes of the match.
France have fired in 13 strikes across their previous four friendly fixtures, and their on-form attack will be the key to clinching silverware this summer, with odds of 5/2 for them to run out winners by three or more in this opener.
Menacing Manchester United marksman Anthony Martial is yet to net in nine for his nation but, after striking 17 for his club looks cracking value at 6/5 in the anytime market, to mark his maiden major tournament by breaking a senior international duck.
Sticking with Premier League talents, West Ham United’s set-piece threat Dimitri Payet has excelled after being brought back to the Bleus fold and is 5/1 to notch first, with Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann even-money anytime.
While, demanding dugout boss Deschamps has revealed Arsenal frontman Olivier Giroud (5/1 to equal or better the brace from his last match) has his trust despite crowd criticism. The coach said: “Giroud responded to his critics by scoring in Nantes… Olivier has not been playing badly but he has been heckled by some of the supporters, it’s a part of the job at the highest level. I trust him and he knows it.”
Tricolorii talents to watch
Despite the focus heaped on Romania’s determined and diligent defensive record of just two goals conceded in 10 Euro qualifying games, only 11 scored and an inability to kill off games was troubling for Tricolorii.
Yet, there has been an awakening in recent forays, with eight strikes clocked up in their past two outings, albeit against Ukraine and Georgia. Though, this new openness seems to have come at the price of such staunch stability, with five also leaked in those two encounters.
Familiar names Vlad Chiriches and Razvan Rat will lead the rearguard resistance at the Stade de France, with wily winger Nicolae Stanciu (6/1 to convert anytime) and fellow wideman Gabriel Torje (7/1) scoring shouts as both were on target in their last two appearances. Though, France will aim to fly out of the blocks with intent and may not give Romania the chance to rally.
Coral’s top tip: France look fine value at 15/4 to be in front after 15 mins.