Premier League sensation Dimitri Payet has hit the headlines worldwide yet again as his 88th minute wonder-goal from the edge of the box was smashed into the top corner to give France an opening victory against Romania in an incredible atmosphere at the Stade de France.
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud had opened the scoring, before former Manchester United left back Patrice Evra conceded a clumsy penalty to allow Romania’s Bogdan Stancu to slot past Hugo Lloris. The result gives France an early lead, which they will hope to take advantage of to qualify from a fairly simple group also including Switzerland and Albania.
Payet, who left the field minutes later to be replaced by Moussa Sissoko, was visibly emotional and was in tears as he made way for the Newcastle midfielder. It’s been an incredible season for Payet, who moved to West Ham from Marseille for just over £10 million, having previously been on the fringes of the French national team and unfavoured by current boss Didier Deschamps.
The free-kick maestro demonstrated his expertise with a superb finish to top off a memorable year, and will be hoping that the moment will propel France on to even greater things in their first home tournament since the 1998 World Cup. In doing so, he became the first player to score and assist in the opening game of an international tournament since Frantisek Veseley in 1976.
Here is how Twitter reacted to Payet’s strike:
It certainly impressed some decent footballers…
— Eden Hazard (@hazardeden10) June 10, 2016
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) June 10, 2016
— Lothar Matthäus (@LMatthaeus10) June 10, 2016
I definitely didn't speak to soon!!! Pressed SEND, then Payet scores an absolute belter!!! What.A.Goal? pic.twitter.com/1WQcDANeY6
— Eniola Aluko (@EniAlu) June 10, 2016
Some claim he bailed France out…
France would be nothing without Payet tonight. What a goal.
— Charlotte (@lottietweet) June 10, 2016
He saved quite a few people’s bets…
Thanks payet for keeping my bets alive
— Thomas Lundberg (@ThomasLundbergP) June 10, 2016
Payet won me a 'France and over 2.5 goals bet' and I celebrated so hard that my 5 year old thought England won the Euros! ?
— Bouchér (@southerngooner) June 10, 2016
And Payet himself clearly felt the emotions of the moment…
— Football HQ (@FootbaII_HQ) June 10, 2016
Some certainly thought that Payet’s strike would not be matched by anything the tournament could offer over the next month…
— Jonny Gould (@jonnygould) June 10, 2016
#EURO2016 OMG What a Goal! Could be goal of the tournament!
— Shaun Goater MBE (@OfficialSGoater) June 10, 2016
It certainly helped Euro 2016 burst into life!
— Perth Potter (@PerthPotter) June 10, 2016
Finally, some realists out there have already begun to speculate about whether West Ham will be able to keep hold of him…
So how much will Florentino Perez bid for Payet after the Euro's?
— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) June 10, 2016
Payet Wow what a goal to win it. Chances are PSG are going to throw the bank at #WHUFC to get him
— Jose A De Oliveira (@josedo) June 10, 2016
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Phuong Ngo.