France moved to the top of Group B thanks to a 1-0 victory against Romania.
Having met twice in qualifying – a 0-0 draw in Saint-Etienne and a 3-1 win for France in Bucharest – these were two teams who could harbour no secrets from each other. Aimé Jacquet did not even attempt to spring a surprise, setting his team up in his trademark 4-3-1-2 formation. It once again proved fruitful for Les Bleus, with Christophe Dugarry's 25th-minute effort enough to separate the sides.
Romania exceeded expectations in the United States two years earlier, reaching the 1994 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, but on this occasion failed to respond to Gheorghe Hagi's promptings. Though France put in a slightly more fluent display, they were left grateful for a slice of fortune which ultimately ensured they got off to a winning start.
Youri Djorkaeff put in a high cross from the right and goalkeeper Bogdan Stelea came out to the very edge of the penalty area where he collided with Gheorghe Mihali, allowing a surprised Dugarry to head in.
There could have been more goals late on, Patrice Loko escaping two defenders before missing the target and Laurent Blanc denying Viorel Modovan with a fine tackle, but Dugarry's effort was decisive.
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