France’s match-winner Dimitri Payet overcome by emotion of late drama

• ‘There was a lot of pressure. The emotion came out with that goal’
• France coach describes West Ham midfielder as ‘difference-maker’

Dimitri Payet admitted that he was overwhelmed by emotion after his stunning 89th-minute winner for France in the opening tie of the European Championship, against Romania. The West Ham United forward gave the hosts a 2-1 victory with his goal from outside the area, which he sent fizzing into the top corner with his left foot, and when he was substituted in stoppage time he could not hold back the tears.

“There was a lot of stress and a lot of pressure,” Payet said. “The emotion came out with that goal. If someone had told me beforehand that it would have gone like this, I would not have believed them. The opening tie is always tricky and we were timid in the opening quarter of the game. But we showed that we could win. Maybe if we had won by two or three goals it might have misled us. This shows there are no easy games.”

Didier Deschamps, the France manager, who introduced two strikers, Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial, in place of Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba as he chased the win, admitted that there were negatives about the performance. He mentioned how his players had struggled to “manage” the emotion of the opening ceremony and he agreed with Payet that they had been “timid” in the opening 25 minutes.

“It was a tricky match, which was made complicated by Romania,” Deschamps said. “For 20 or 25 minutes we had a tough time. The opening match is a bit like a cup final and we were timid. Maybe we put too much pressure on ourselves, subconsciously. Not everything was perfect, far from it. But victory is very positive and it is important to begin with one. Clearly, the result is what matters.”

Deschamps described Payet as the “difference-maker” and his goal as “wonderful”. He added: “It’s quite easy in football when you can bang it into the top corner. It solves a lot of problems. There were strong emotions for Payet. He has come a long way in a short space of time. I’ll put him on ice now.

“It was a very emotional occasion. Perhaps we were made to pay for the opening ceremony. I didn’t want to say this beforehand but Romania had nothing to lose while we had everything to lose. This will give us greater confidence and calmness.”

Contributor

David Hytner at Stade de France

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Dimitri Payet’s stunner rescues France’s welcome party against Romania
Dimitri Payet scored a superb late goal for the hosts France to earn a 2-1 win over Romania in the opening game of Euro 2016

David Hytner at Stade de France

10, Jun, 2016 @9:05 PM

Article image
Euro 2016: Dimitri Payet gives France hope for tougher tasks ahead | Barney Ronay
The hosts flickered and fizzed on the tournament’s opening night when the overwhelming feeling was of quiet relief at the Stade de France

Barney Ronay at Stade de France

10, Jun, 2016 @10:58 PM

Article image
Olivier Giroud divides opinion but was pivotal as France conquered Romania
Olivier Giroud did what he does best as France beat Romania in the opening game of Euro 2016, missing chances before scoring the opener to ease pressure on Didier Deschamps’ squad

Owen Gibson at Stade de France

10, Jun, 2016 @9:58 PM

Article image
Olivier Giroud: ‘It’s nice to be cheered but I’m not trying to prove people wrong’
France fans are belatedly waking up to the quality of the Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, who is determined to keep the applause coming in the Euro 2016 semi-final against Germany

Dominic Fifield in Paris

04, Jul, 2016 @3:31 PM

Article image
Olivier Giroud: ‘Now is the time for this France team to make history’
Olivier Giroud tells Igor Mladenovic the fact many of the squad have come through adversity makes them a stronger, more resilient group who can win Euro 2016

Igor Mladenovic

06, Jun, 2016 @8:12 AM

Article image
France one win from Euro 2016 final six years after disgrace of South Africa | Amy Lawrence
Didier Deschamps’ team have restored the supporters’ trust, helped by the fact Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny, Dimitri Payet and others have had to struggle through the lower leagues

Amy Lawrence

07, Jul, 2016 @9:00 AM

Article image
France have few worries in attack but more to fear at the back against Germany
A France back four who include Bacary Sagna and Patrice Evra do not inspire the same confidence as some defences of the past when the hosts face Germany in the Euro 2016 semi-finals

Rob Smyth

04, Jul, 2016 @2:07 PM

Article image
France takes deep breath as Deschamps’ favourites make Euro 2016 entrance | Barney Ronay
France hope a bravura tournament will help erase security fears and Didier Deschamps’ side are settled and ready for opening match against Romania

Barney Ronay in Paris

09, Jun, 2016 @7:47 PM

Article image
France’s Dimitri Payet happy to stay at West Ham next season, says agent
Dimitri Payet has been linked with a transfer to Real Madrid and Internazionale among others

Ed Aarons

30, Jun, 2016 @12:07 PM

Article image
France’s Olivier Giroud warns England Kylian Mbappé ‘can still improve’
Olivier Giroud, the France forward, said: ‘Kylian is the best striker I have played with,’ while revealing Les Bleus have picked Hugo Lloris’s brains on Harry Kane

Jacob Steinberg in Doha

06, Dec, 2022 @4:39 PM