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Deschamps plans to keep France hero Payet on ice

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Jun 2016

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Didier Deschamps is planning to put Dimitri Payet on ice to protect his star player after his late heroics earned hosts France a 2-1 win in a dramatic Euro 2016 opener on Friday.

Olivier Giroud headed France into a second-half lead, but the Stade de France crowd was silenced when Bogdan Stancu levelled from the penalty spot.

But with time against Les Bleus, Payet let fly from range with an unstoppable left-foot effort that nestled in the top corner to bring the Parisian fans to their feet.

It capped a brilliant solo performance from the West Ham attacker, who left the field in tears when substituted shortly after his heroics.

“Yes, it was emotional and I think we were made to pay for that slightly,” Deschamps said. “The Romanians had nothing to lose and we had everything to lose. 

“The emotions were strong for him, he’s come a long way in a short time. I’m going to put him on ice ahead of the next few matches so nothing untoward happens towards him.

“I’ve got no doubts over him, over the fact he can make the difference. He made the difference today. He’s an attacker but he helps out the team. 

“It’s quite easy in football when you can bang it into the top corner.”

Deschamps, the France captain for their World Cup and European Championship victories in 1998 and 2000, credited Romania for a plucky performance and felt the victory was made sweeter by Payet’s 89th-minute winner.

“You might say [it was sweeter], when we got it in the last seconds. The game was made complicated by Romania. For the first 20 to 25 minutes we had a tough time of it,” he added. 

“The opening match is a bit like a cup final, we were timid in the first 25 minutes. But we started with four attacking players and I’m delighted for the players. It was a wonderful goal from Payet and I’m delighted for him. 

“Not everything was perfect, but this Romanian side caused us problems. It was an important victory for confidence.”

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