France vs. Romania: Five Things to Watch Out For in First Euro 2016 Match

France players
Paul Pogba, left, Lassana Diarra and Eliaquim Mangala at Wembley Stadium, London, November 17. France faces Romania in the first match of Euro 2016. Paul Gilham/Getty

Six years' worth of planning will come to fruition on Friday night when France kicks off the 2016 European Championships against Romania.

It has been far from a settled build-up in the host nation with warnings of Islamic State "plots against the Euros" from the U.K. Foreign Office, accusations of racism in the France squad, and fan trouble before a ball has even been kicked.

But all this will be swept aside as Didier Deschamps prepares his France side for the inaugural match of the tournament.

Here, Newsweek outlines five aspects of the match to watch out for.

France's Defensive Duo

With Raphael Varane ruled out of the tournament with a thigh injury, Deschamps is expected to put his faith in Adil Rami, the Sevilla defender, alongside Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny at center back.

The 30-year-old Rami, who has played 26 times for France and is prone to clumsy mistakes, has already put in a less-than-convincing performance for Les Bleus in the lead up to the Euros.

In a warm-up match against Cameroon in May, Rami made two errors that led to goals for the African team. It took a superb free-kick from West Ham's Dimitri Payet to salvage a 3-2 victory.

Romania will be well aware of the rickety Rami.

Pogba's Premier League Audition?

Rumors of Paul Pogba heading out of Juventus are rife. Jose Mourinho is reported to be on alert, keen to bring the 23-year-old back to Manchester United, the club he left in 2012.

United is joined by city rivals Manchester City as well as Chelsea, under new manager Antonio Conte, who worked with Pogba at Juventus until 2014 when he took over the Italy national team.

Potential suitors from Europe's elite clubs will have a keen eye on the midfielder as he looks to dictate victory for Deschamps team.

Can Romania Kick Euros Hoodoo?

Not since June 2000 has Romania managed to muster a victory at the European Championships. The opponents? England, after a late Phil Neville challenge allowed Romania to grab the win from the spot.

The nation has also kept just one clean sheet in the 13 matches at the Championships since victory over England. That came in the goalless draw against France in June 2008.

History continues to go against Romania as the country has never won an opening match at the Euros. With France one of the favorites heading into the tournament, that trend looks likely to continue.

No Sign Of a Goal-Fest

While Romania may have been unbeaten in qualifying and conceded just two goals, Anghel Iordanescu's team had the lowest goals per game record in Euro 2016 qualifying, at 1.3.

The two teams have played three times against one another at European Championships, but the last two encounters produced just one goal. France won 1-0 in 1996 before a 0-0 draw in 2008.

Returning Romanian

This will be Iordanescu's fourth major tournament as Romania coach, after leading the team to World Cups in 1994 and 1998, and to Euro 96.

It is the 66-year-old's third stint as national team manager, having taken charge from 1993 through 1998, and then 2002 through 2004 before returning to the post a decade later.

His record in the World Cup is impressive, taking Romania to the quarter-finals in 1994, when the side was knocked out by Argentina, and to the round of 16 four years later in France.

But his only Euro outing ended in disaster. The tournament held in England 20 years ago ended with Romania bottom of group B with no points and just one goal.

Iordanescu's team will be desperate to prevent a repeat.