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European Leagues: European Cups: Euro 2000 -- Match 13

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First Round

  • Sat. 17th June: (Group A)
    Game 13 Romania - Portugal
    Gelredome, Arnhem (18:00)

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Previous Game:
Ger - Rom (1-1)

Game 13

portugal.gif (1330 bytes)

Previous Game:
Por - Eng (3-2)

Romania and Portugal both qualified for Euro 2000 from Group 7.

While all the media attention seems to be on the England - Germany match -- a game by a bunch of old boys still harping on about scores to settle -- this is the one that could decide England's fate.

Romania won in Portugal in October 1988 and drew 1-1 at home in September of last year, to qualify as group leaders; without losing a single game out of ten matches.

Although Portugal finished runner-up, they didn't need a play-off as they had the best record out of all the 2nd placed teams in the nine groups.

Romania plan to man-mark Luis Figo but, having studied the Portuguese in qualifying, they will also know all about the dangers posed by Rui Costa and Joao Pinto (who may be going to Chelsea). They would certainly have noted the steely determination the Portuguese showed in getting back into the game against England, and the way they closed the game once they took the lead. Romania can not afford to let the Portuguese get in front.

If this game is a draw, England can do what they like against Germany. Romania will fancy their chances to repeat their success against England in France two years ago; when Petrescu dampened Michael Owen's glory of being the youngest English goalscorer in the World Cup finals, with a bustled goal between David Seaman and his defender on the last minute of normal time. The game ended 2-1 to Romania; Moldovan having scored the first goal just after half-time.

Romania Team:
12-Bogdan Stelea
4-Iulian Filipescu, 6-Gheorghe Popescu, 13-Cristian Chivu, 22-Cosmin Contra
2-Dan Petrescu, 5-Constantin Galca, 8-Dorinel Munteanu, 10-Gheorghe Hagi
9-Viorel Moldovan, 11-Adrian Ilie

Portugal Team:
1-Vitor Baia
2-Jorge Costa, 5-Fernando Couto, 13-Xavier Dimas, 20-Carlos Secretario
4-Jose Vidigal, 7-Luis Figo, 10-Manuel Rui Costa, 17-Paulo Bento
8-Joao Pinto, 21-Nuno Gomes

Referee: Gilles Veissiere (France)

First Half:
The first-half of the Romania -- Portugal encounter won't go down as one of the most memorable in Euro2000 history.

After a slow start, Luis Figo showed spurts of what he can do, running at three Romanians on the left and putting the ball through Popescu's legs, before falling into the defender as he turned to chase the ball.

It was 10 minutes before the Portuguese goalkeeper, Vitor Baia, even had a touch of the ball; a Hagi left-foot cross.

Just after the quarter-hour, Hagi received his second yellow card of the tournament; which eliminates him from the encounter with England.

The closest chance for the Romanians came in the 25th minute. Illie's free kick, destined for the top right corner, was palmed away by Vitor Baia.

The Romanians played the offside trap well and countered effectively. Some of the passes looked too casual and possession was easily lost by both teams.
Half-time 0-0.

Second Half:
Both teams cancelled each other out so well that it got to the stage they were walking; sparring with each other; teasing and waiting for an opportunity to strike.

This wasn't the Portugal we saw against England but they adapted well to the Romanians who seemed happy to settle for a draw. A draw would have left the group wide open going in to the final games, assuming England won against Germany. Swift calculations and tactical changes from both sides.

Was the Romanian coach trying something new or resting Moldovan, Petrescu and Illie for the England encounter; which they would need to win again -- without Hagi.

It looked like both of these teams would be happy with a draw. Romania thinking that they could beat England again. And if Portugal were to win or draw with the Germans, the two teams from group seven would go through to the quarter-finals.

Portugal had previously made a double substitution in the 56th minute: Sa Pinto on for Gomes and Conceicao for Joao Pinto.

With fifteen minutes to go, the game had stalemate written all over it.

The Romanians might have been happy with a point to stay unbeaten, but if England were to beat Germany, Germany would need to beat Portugal, then both of these teams heading for 0-0 would go out. That was the speculation, and counter speculation.

Five minutes from time, Hagi almost scored. A dipping shot from the corner of the area just tipped over the bar for a corner by Vitor Baia.

We were into the last minute of the four minutes added on for stoppages when Figo took the last free-kick for Portugal, taking his time to get it right.

Costinha had replaced Rui Costa four minutes from the end of normal time and as the ball floated over the crowded area, the tall substitute jumped to meet the ball; heading his country into the quarter-finals in the bargain.

Romania's tactics had back-fired.

Result: Romania 0 -- Portugal 1

Man of the Match: Figo.


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