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Deschamps demands that hosts make a positive start and set tone for a thrilling tournament

By Robert Jones

Published 10/06/2016

Can Didier Deschamps' France team end Iceland's Euro hopes?
Can Didier Deschamps' France team end Iceland's Euro hopes?

France coach Didier Deschamps believes it is crucial for the hosts to make a positive start when they kick off their Euro 2016 campaign against Romania at the Stade de France tonight.

Two years of preparation will finally come to an end for Deschamps and his French squad, who face plenty of pressure and expectation as they finally return to competitive action in Group A.

Deschamps said: "The setting is the Stade de France and it is the opening game so it is certainly special, and this should set the tone for the whole tournament.

"The less the occasion weighs on the players, the better. We have been preparing for June 10 for two years. It's important to be back in competitive football - our last official game was the World Cup quarter-final against Germany."

France are widely expected to see off their opponents who qualified in second place in their group behind Northern Ireland - although they did go unbeaten through the campaign with five wins and five draws.

And Deschamps is certainly taking nothing for granted with Anghel Iordanescu's men looking to write their names in the tournament's folklore with one of its biggest upset wins.

"The Romanian team will not roll over and they will give their best to achieve a good result," Deschamps added at his pre-match press conference.

"If they want to win this match, they can't just defend. This team know how to defend but it is not the only thing they are good at.

"I watched their most recent games and they are very good going forward. I am expecting them to come with the intention of upsetting us, so it will be an interesting battle over the 90 minutes."

Deschamps is expected to patch up his injury-ravaged defence by pairing Laurent Koscielny with Adil Rami, while Kingsley Coman is expected to feature on the bench after recovering from a calf injury.

There is good news on the fitness front for Iordanescu, with striker Florin Andone set to start after shrugging off a hand injury, and midfielder Ovidiu Hoban also coming into contention.

Belfast Telegraph

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