Romania coach Anghel Iordanescu paid tribute to his beaten side but lamented missed opportunities as Dimitri Payet sensationally inspired hosts France to a 2-1 win in the Euro 2016 opener.
West Ham playmaker Payet was preferred to Manchester United’s Anthony Martial in a three-pronged attack and created a 57th-minute opener for Olivier Giroud before unleashing a stunning 30-yard strike into the top corner with a minute remaining.
Bogdan Stancu levelled from the penalty spot but the striker missed a gilt-edged chance at the start of each half, meaning a proud Iordanescu felt a pang of regret at his post-match news conference.
“I think we played a good match, with both positives and negatives,” he said.
“We started the first half in excellent fashion and we had a very rare chance that the keeper was able to keep out.
“Had we scored, it would have changed the match. At the start of the second period, we got into the box a great deal but unfortunately Stancu missed that chance again.
“We had some positives moments and tricky moments because we came up against a powerful side.
“Well done to my players for carrying out my instructions and I thank them for the quality of their play, despite the fact we lost the game.
“It hurts to lose a game in the 89th minute. It was a fabulous strike from a wonderful player.”
The veteran tactician concedes he now has a job on his hands to pick his players up for their next Group A encounter against Switzerland.
“Had you had access to the dressing room, you could see how disappointed the players were,” he added.
“It’ll be difficult to re-establish the players’ physical form and fitness, because they’re exhausted, but you have to consider the psychological aspect.”
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