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France overcome pressure to win opener

By The Assam Tribune

PARIS, June 11: With France heading for disappointment, Dimitri Payet unleashed a sensational goal to rescue the European Championship hosts who claimed a 2-1 win over Romania in an emotional opening match.

In a packed Stade de France surrounded by thousands of police guarding against a repeat of the Novermber 13 attacks on Paris, coach Didier Deschamps said a nation�s expectations had weighed heavily.

�The players felt it and that imposes obligations. Psychologically it was not easy to manage but we were rewarded� with the win, he said.

Germany, Spain, Italy, England and other rivals for the European title cannot have failed to notice France�s frailties in defence and Payet�s inspirational performance.

After a nervous start against a Romanian team with nothing to lose, the 29-year-old Payet, who only broke into the France team this year, provided the cross for Olivier Giroud to head France into the lead in the 57th minute.

Romania had defended stubbornly. Bogdan Stancu equalised from the penalty spot after a clumsy foul from Patrice Evra on Nicolae Stanciu. Payet then had to step in with a bending 25 metre strike in the 89th minute that brought tears even to the scorer as he left the field.

Switzerland edge past Albania: At Lens, Fabien Schaer�s powerful header gave Switzerland a narrow 1-0 win over 10-man Albania on the second day of the European Championship finals on Saturday. The Group A match, in the spotlight with brothers Granit and Taulant Xhaka playing for opposing sides, was decided by the sending off of Albania captain Lorik Cana.

The Albanian underdogs were continually scrambling to get back into the game while Switzerland, who now lead the group with France, never took firm control. After just five minutes, Hoffenheim centre back Schaer rose above the Albanian defence to head in from a corner by Xherdan Shaqiri.

The 1.86 metre (6ft 2in) defender makes a habit of scoring for the national side, with five goals in 19 appearances now. He was also a rock in defence and was booked in the 12th minute for chopping down Emir Lenjani. � AFP

ed goalkeeper David De Gea appeared at a Spanish team press conference to dismiss reports that he had organised a party where women were allegedly forced to have sex against their will.

�I am the first one to be surprised by this report. I deny it, it is false and nothing more, it is a lie and false,� De Gea said.

Eldiario.Es news website said the name of De Gea and Athletic Bilbao�s Iker Muniain appeared in the testimony of a �protected witness� as part of an investigation into Ignacio Allende, a Spanish porn producer who was detained in April for alleged sexual abuse of minors and spreading child pornography.

The witness reportedly said she and another woman were forced to participate in a party in 2012 organised by De Gea, in which they both had sex with footballers.

On Sunday, world champions Germany open their campaign against Ukraine, and Bayern Munich�s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski will aim to spoil Northern Ireland�s first ever appearance in the Euro finals.

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