Host France will begin their Euro 2016 campaign against Romania on Friday at Stade de France. Both teams belong to Group A of the 2016 UEFA European Championship, which will run from June 10 to July 10.
France are one of the favorites to hoist the trophy this year, but Les Bleus will be playing without superstar forward Karim Benzema, who was not named to the final roster. The Real Madrid star was suspended after he was accused of trying to extort money from Mathieu Valbuena, ESPN reported.
Without Benzema, France coach Didier Deschamps is hoping Olivier Giroud will step up along with Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann. The 25-year-old Griezmann played well for Les Blues during their international friendly victories over Netherlands and Russia earlier this year.
On the other hand, Romania will lean on Florin Andone, who is expected to become their lone striker in their tournament opener against the host country. The 23-year-old has played well for Cordoba last season, netting 21 goals for second-division Spanish club.
While playing in front of their home crowd could be a factor on Friday, France had difficulties dealing with Romania in their recent matches, winning just once in their last five matches, UEFA reported. The other four ended in draws, including their scoreless encounter in the Euro 2012 qualifying round.
France vs Romania Predictions & Predicted Lineup
France are heavily favored to take all three points in the opening match of the 2016 European Championships. Although they will be playing without Benzema, they have the advantage in terms of firepower and will enjoy tremendous crowd support. France 3-1.
France – Lloris, Evra, Koscielny, Rami, Sagna, Sissoko, Matuidi, Pogba, Payet, Griezzmann, Giroud
Romania – Tatarusanu, Rat, Grigore, Chiriches, Sapunaru, Stanciu, Pintii, Hoban, Popa, Stancu, Andone
Where to Watch: Euro 2016 TV Schedule & Live Stream
The France vs Romania match will kick off at 3 p.m. ET and will be shown live on ESPN2, ESPN3 USA and ESPN Deportes TV. Fans can also catch the action through online live stream via WatchESPN.
More TV schedule and live stream information are available on Live Soccer TV.