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Euro Cup 2016 : France earns victory over Romania

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SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE — Dimitri Payet scored one goal and set up another Friday to help France beat Group A rivals Romania 2-1 and give the European Championship a start the host nation badly wanted.

Thousands of police surrounded the Stade de France ahead of the gala opener amid widespread security fears, with the month-long football fiesta kicking off in style in Paris despite terror concerns and widespread strikes.

Payet crossed for Olivier Giroud to head France into a 57th-minute lead at the national stadium, but Bogdan Stancu equalised from the penalty spot after a clumsy foul from Patrice Evra on Nicolae Stanciu.

However, West Ham playmaker Payet conjured up a long-range wonder strike a minute from time to ensure France — one of the favourites for the title along with Germany and Spain — made a triumphant start.

French manager Didier Deschamps, who is bidding to repeat France`s triumphs at Euro `84 and the 1998 World Cup on home soil, admitted he was a relived man after Payet`s heroics.

“It`s good to get the win,” Deschamps told TF1. “This Romania team isn`t easy to play, we knew that, even if we were able to score the opening goal.

“We struggled to get out the blocks but the reward was at the end. It`s a very good thing to have won the first match, to start us off in the competition.”

Some 90,000 police and security guards are protecting the 10 stadiums and surrounding fan zones.

But violence erupted in Marseille where England fans were involved in a second day of fighting, while a hint of scandal tainted the tournament when Spain goalkeeper David De Gea strongly denied links to a sex scandal.

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The first big test of the security dragnet came as England fans and Russian supporters squared off in Marseille, where their countries play on Saturday.

Riot police had to separate English and Russian supporters, police prefect Laurent Nunez told AFP, adding that seven arrests had been made.

After France and Romania opened proceedings, the newly expanded 24-team tournament kicks into gear with six more games on a star-studded weekend.

England`s prolific new strike partnership of Premier League top-scorer Harry Kane and Leicester City title-winning hero Jamie Vardy will hope to outgun Russia on Saturday.

Also in England`s group, Real Madrid`s Gareth Bale will headline Wales` opener in their first appearance in a major championship since the 1958 World Cup.

AFP

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PM Oli felicitates cricketers

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KATHMANDU — Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has feted the members of the national cricket team 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division II on Friday.

The Nepal stood the first runner up in the cricket tournament that recently took place in Namibia.

PM KP Sharma Oli feted the players and provided Rs 300,000 to each cricketer at a programme organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports at the PM’s official residence in Baluwatar.

While honouring the players, Prime Minister Oli committed to developing cricket in the country adding that such felicitation will motivate the players. He further opined for strengthening the foreign relations through such sports.

PM Oli also committed to leading the nation on the way to prosperity as the country now has got a stable government. The team is leaving for Zimbabwe Saturday night.

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Meanwhile, Madan Bhandarai Sports Academy also provided Rs 100,000 in cash to each player. The academy Chair Binod Shrestha opined for developing Cricket Development Board for the holistic development of cricket.

During the programme, Secretary of the Youth and Sports Ministry Mahesh Prasad Dahal shared that the ministry was working out to develop the sports tourism in the country.

Nepal’s team captain Paras Khadka said that his team will make the best performance in the league. On the occasion, the players expressed their best wishes to PM Oli on his birthday.

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