Dimitri Payet's late long range strike gave France an opening day victory in Paris ©Getty Images

A superb late goal from Dimitri Payet gave France an ideal start to their Group A campaign at the 2016 UEFA European Championships as the host nation edged past Romania at the Stade de France in Paris.

The 29-year-old had been the provider of the majority of the home side's best chances throughout the duration of the opening match of the tournament, but with the scores level at 1-1 heading into the closing minutes he took matters into his own hands.

Receiving the ball on the cusp of the Romanian penalty area, Payet took one touch before firing a curling left footed strike beyond the helpless goalkeeper Ciprian Tătăruşanu and into the top corner.

The winning goal will provide relief to the hosts who had been largely frustrated by a resilient Romanian team, which had nearly taken advantage of early French nerves.

In the opening minutes, a Romanian corner was flicked towards the back post, where the unmarked Bogdan Stancu was left with the goal gaping.

Despite forcing the ball towards the net, the forward’s effort was kept out by a stunning reflex save by French captain Hugo Lloris, who plays for English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.

The scare forced the French side into action, with Antoine Griezmann striking the Romanian post after the defence failed to clear a low cross.

Backed by a packed Stade de France crowd, the hosts continued to grow into the match but were left frustrated by several misses from Oliver Giroud, including a late header in the first half, which he flashed over the crossbar.

Bogdan Stancu had equalised from the penalty spot after a Patrice Evra foul
Bogdan Stancu had equalised from the penalty spot after a Patrice Evra foul ©Getty Images

The striker made amends after the break when he beat Tătăruşanu to a Payet cross to head his side into a 1-0 advantage, with 57 minutes played.

Less than 10 minutes had passed when the crowd’s jubilation was silenced, after a clumsy tackle in the area from Patrice Evra gave Stancu the chance to redeem his early miss from the penalty spot, with the Romanian coolly finding the bottom corner.

French coach Didier Deschamps, who captained the country’s 1998 World Cup-winning team, responded by substituting star man Paul Pogba to allow the increasingly influential Payet to move central.

His move was justified moments from time, when the midfielder struck his stunning winner, before being substituted in tears to a standing ovation.

The tournament favourites will now be able to watch their future Group A opponents Albania and Switzerland clash tomorrow at Stade Felix Bollaert-Delelis, fresh in the knowledge that they have already taken a major stride to the knockout stages of the 24-team competition.

Organisers will also breathe a collective sigh of relief that the tournament began peacefully in the city's capital, with security having dominated the build-up following November's terrorist attacks at the stadium and across Paris, which saw 130 people killed.