Dimitri Payet’s move from periphery to centre of France’s success | Paul Wilson

West Ham midfielder’s teary reaction to France’s opening win against Romania in Euro 2016 showed the emotion involved

France’s Premier League contingent made a solid enough start to Euro 2016, with Olivier Giroud, N’Golo Kanté and Hugo Lloris making notable contributions to the win over Romania and Dimitri Payet emerging as the opening-night hero, though whether the hosts fully justified their billing as pre-tournament favourites was a lot less clear.

Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba, two of the players expected to be pivotal to French hopes, were substituted before Payet’s winner, when the overall feeling was that Didier Deschamps’s players were enduring a frustrating evening. Neither was particularly awful, though Griezmann was ineffective when he could have been incisive and Pogba looked good in short bursts without exerting the midfield control that had been anticipated.

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