By Antony Jordan
This is it! We’re finally here as the 2016 European Championships will kick off the tournament proceedings in front of what promises to be a fanatical set of supporters at Stade de France this Friday evening as they take on Romania whilst looking to set their pace early and show the rest of the field what they are capable of.
The French have a 50% record in both World Cups and European Championships played on home soil with them failing to secure the titles at the 1938 World Cup and inaugural Euros in 1960, but they have been much better in recent times with them lifting the 1984 title and 1998 World Cup on French soil and they are favoured to make it three in a row in front of the fans of Les Bleus on July 10th.
They are also favoured to begin their campaign this summer on the front foot as online sportsbook Unibet.com make them the heavy favourites to secure all three points against Romania in this first of 51 matches around the country over the next month.
France v Romania Match Odds at Unibet.com:
Not only do the French side come into this first competitive match since a 1-0 loss to eventual champions Germany at the Quarter Final stage of the 2014 World Cup with a 100% record in 2016 they have won all four matches in style. They have scored 13 goals with the Netherlands and Russia beaten 3-2 and 4-2 in March before Cameroon and Scotland were beaten 3-2 and 3-0 as they amped up the preparations for this match. They have won nine of their last ten matches over the course of the last 12 months, losing only to England at Wembley in November, and one of their most lethal players right now is Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud who has scored three of the six goals in the two recent warm up games following on from four in two for The Gunners at the end of the EPL season. He’ll want to fire in more goals in this match to send the home fans into joyous celebrations, and with a talent filled squad there is every chance that this side can live up to their billing as big favourites.
Romania bring good form to France too as they have suffered just one defeat in the last two years, but they are drawing more games than they are winning in recent times too with eight draws and six wins in their last 15 matches. They have warmed up for this competition with an unusual set of results as they drew 1-1 with the Democratic Republic of Congo, lost 4-3 to Ukraine and then defeated Georgia 5-1 over the last three weeks. With France a much better side than all of these three sides recently faced and Romania seemingly unable to keep a clean sheet are they in for trouble in Paris?
The French have been decimated at the back with a number of defensive injuries and players pulling out of the squad, but manager Didier Deschamps, who lifted the World Cup on home soil in 1998 as captain, is likely to pair Adil Rami, the late replacement for the injured Raphaël Varane, alongside Laurent Koscielny at the centre of defence. The midfield and attacking areas of the pitch are at full strength, apart from Karim Benzema missing out due to being suspended by the national team.
Romania are at full strength after former Tottenham defender Vlad Chiriches declared himself fit and both Florin Andone and Ovidiu Hoban have overcome knocks.
Head to Head:
At the European Championships it is the French who have the better record of these two sides having triumphed 1-0 two decades ago and then drawn 0-0 in 2008, and they also have the better recent head to head record too with five wins and five draws in the last ten meetings. However, four of the last five clashes between the nations have seen the matches end level. Romania would desperately love to claim at least a draw in this opening, especially considering they have never won their opening European Championship match, but can they upset the odds to do so?
Although Romania had the tightest defence of all the sides that qualified for the Euros this summer, with just two goals conceded in ten matches during the group stage, there were no sides in their group that came close to matching the ability and creativity of this French side.
On top of this, the Romanian team has conceded six goals in their three warm up matches and while this is sure not to continue in competitive fixtures we can still see France outscoring their guests in this opener to take all three points. Olivier Giroud is the man in form for the French right now and with him likely to lead the line in this game we are backing him to continue to find the net and secure France all three points in this opener.
France v Romania Bet:
Back France to beat Romania and Olivier Giroud to score anytime @ 2.48 in the Unibet Sportsbook!