France v Romania - EURO 2016

The France Euros 2016 will be everything but dour, and the opener between the host nation and football minnows, Romania is almost a pointer to what we should expect at the tournament. Recent footballing seasons have come with some surprise elements anyways, so that should also be rife in France. But if there are 5 things that are likely to happen, they are these:

NO MORE UNDERDOGS

Although openers are known for being rough around the edges most of the time, but nobody would have seen Romania giving the France team that much of a tough time. Despite having the best defensive records in the qualifiers, many still predicted the team would concede at least 3 unreplied goals from the French attacking powerhouse. A late Payet screamer from the edge of the box was what finally calmed Didier Deschamp’s side from early nerves, and it is safe to say there won’t be underdogs at this games. Albania, Iceland, Hungary, and Northern Ireland all look like easy-to-defeat teams, but we doubt if that will be the case.

DARK HORSES ARE THE NEW PARTY SPOILERS

The dark horses will sure be ready to cause some upsets, and that is what makes football such a beautiful game. The likes of Turkey, Croatia, Czech Republic, Austria, Ukraine and Poland will most likely prove hard nuts to crack, and 1 or 2 of them could get as far as the semis or even finals. It won’t be an easy ride for the big boys, including France themselves.

SOME GOAL-LINE GOALS NOT COUNTED

UEFA is yet to adopt the goalline technology, and that could be the undoing of some teams in France. No eagle-eyed official behind the goalline will be able to see every ball that crosses the line, especially when it’s in the air. The decision of the European football house not to deploy this useful technology will go against a couple of teams. No doubt.

EMERGENCE OF STAR PLAYERS

The opener might have not unearthed any hidden gem in the Romania side as they don’t look to have any, but as the group fixtures roll out, some couple of names are bound to become popular. The competition provides an opportunity for every player to shine, and most of them will see their stock rise after giving top-notch performances. The youngsters and unheralded names will be at their best, and those that have always been doubted are also certainly going to give what it takes to keep the Thomases quiet. It is going to be an exhibition and trials for a lot of players, with so many scouts watching from the stands and fans all around the world glued to their screens.

THE LATE BLOOMERS WILL SHINE

The oldest player at the tournament is Italy legend and skipper, Buffon. At 38, he is set to help guide his team to as far as they can go, and although he is far from a late bloomer, it is expected that old(er) players will shine in France. Payet, 29 put smiles on a lot of French faces after securing the winning goal against Romania, and we could be seeing more of his age-mates doing big things all through the competition. Only time will tell.

Paul Koroma

I learned all about life with a ball at my feet. Soccer allows me to push the limitation of creativity and express myself without saying a word. Soccer is my addiction. I train. I play, and I repeat every single day.

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