Patrice Evra believes the whole of France can be proud of their national team after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Romania in the Euro 2016 opener.
Dimitri Payet struck a dramatic winner in the 89th minute of the clash at the Stade de France in Paris to seal an important three points in Group A.
Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud opened the scoring in the 57th minute courtesy of a Payet assist, but Bogdan Stancu equalised for Romania from the spot after Evra fouled Nicolae Stancui in the area.
Evra was disappointed to have given away the penalty, the first he has conceded for France in his 74 caps, but will leave the stadium happy after starting the tournament with a win.
“France have not played in official matches for two years, there was a lot of apprehension,” the Juventus defender said post-game.
“We were very shy in the first half. But we must still congratulate the Romanian team. I think there are many people who thought it was going to be easy, but the coach [Didier Deschamps] had warned us.
“I can do better. I was annoyed to create this penalty for my team-mates. But what interests me tonight is not my performance but really this state of mind.
“If you see my interviews before the competition starts, I said I want the fans to be proud of this team. And I think they can be proud tonight.”
Evra was also full of praise for match-winner Payet, who scored the deciding goal with a rocket from outside the area in the dying stages.
“This is the real Dimitri, the Dimi we love. To sign to West Ham and go to England made him good. He knows he is an important player for the team, but he also makes the efforts,” Evra added.
“If he continues to score in the top corner, it’s great for France.”
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