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European Leagues: European Cups: Euro 2000 -- Match 26

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  • Sat. 24th June: Game 26
    Italy - Romania
    Brussels (20:45)

italy.gif (1092 bytes)

Previous Games:
Tur - Ita (1-2)
Ita - Bel (2-0)
Ita - Swe (2-1)

Game 26

romania.gif (1094 bytes)

Previous Games:
Ger - Rom (1-1)
Rom - Por (0-1)
Eng - Rom (2-3)

Match Preview:
Italy have called Romania "not a very good team" -- just the sort of thing to inspire Gheorghe Hagi; after he missed the England game in Charleroi, through suspension.

For once the Italian media puts down the opposition, as Dino Zoff seems to have become an overnight Messiah; after Italy won all their three group matches.

Romania will be without four key players for the Quarter-final against Italy: Adrian Ilie, Cosmin Contra and Dan Petrescu will all miss the encounter after picking up a second yellow card during their last group match; the 3-2, stoppage-time, win over England. Defender Gheorghe Popescu is also out, for the rest of the tournament, with a torn calf muscle.

Romania's win against England was deserved, because they were the better team again, but England are no Italy.

Even though Luis Figo delivered the last-minute free-kick for Portugal, in their group match with Romania, Cristian Chivu did a good job keeping him quiet for most of the match. But can he do the same again with Del Piero or Totti?

Romania and Italy last met for a friendly match, over 11 years ago. Both Maldini and Hagi played in the Sibu match, which Romania won 1-0.

Romania also came out better over two qualifying legs for the 1984 European championship -- against the then World Champions -- (0-0  in Florence and 1-0 in Bucharest). The last time Italy beat Romania was in a friendly match in Naples, over 20 years ago; the score, 2-1.

Italy look more positive going forward, without losing their defensive trademark, but if they get complacent in Brussels, the Romanians may well surprise them and the Italian media will accuse Dino Zoff of getting it all wrong; especially if the game goes to penalties and Italy fail in the shoot-out again.

Statistics to Date:

goal.gif (309 bytes) -- Goals Scored: red_card.gif (100 bytes)yellow_card.gif (94 bytes) -- Bookings:
Italy: (6)
Antonio Conte (1)
Del Piero (1)
Luigi di Biagio (1)
Stefano Fiore (1)
Filippo Inzaghi (1)
Francesco Totti (1)
Romania: (4)
Cristian Chivu (1)
Ioan Ganea (1)
Viorel Moldovan (1)
Doriel Munteanu (1)
Red Cards: (none)

Yellow Cards: (3)
Demetri Albertini (1)
Antonio Conte (1)
Gianluca Zambrotta (1)

Red Cards: (none)

Yellow Cards: (10)
Cosmin Contra (2)
Gheorghe Hagi (2)
Adrian Ilie (2)
Dan Petrescu (2)
Cristian Chivu (1)
Iulian Filipescu (1)

Italy Team:
12-Francesco Toldo,
3-Paolo Maldini, 5-Fabio Cannavaro, 13-Alessandro Nesta, 15-Mark Iuliano,
8-Antonio Conte, 17-Gianluca Zambrotta, 4-Demetri Albertini, 18-Stefano Fiore,
9-Filippo Inzaghi, 20-Francesco Totti.

Romania Team:
12-Bogdan Stelea,
13-Cristian Chivu, 3-Liviu Ciobotariu, 4-Iulian Filipescu, 17-Miodrag Belodedici,
8-Dorinel Munteanu, 14-Florentin Petre, 5-Constantin Galca, 10-Gheorghe Hagi,
9-Viorel Moldovan, 7-Adrian Mutu.

Referee: Vitor Manuel Melo Pereira (Portugal)

First Half:
Two goals in ten minutes and Italy lead a game they didn't have control of at all.

Both teams pressed and closed each other down while the referee's whistle prevented the game from flowing for the first fifteen minutes.

Then Conte tried to score like Chivu did against England; only Bogdan Stelea did what Nigel Martyn couldn't -- jump to catch the cross that turns out to be a shot.

After twenty minutes the game gathered more momentum; Stelea right out of the Romanian area to kick away an Italian threat.

Right after that, Cannavaro was forced to hook another dangerous ball out of the Italian area.

Romania were having more of the possession in the first half-hour but couldn't get the ball in the Italian goal.

After Hagi fired a shot from too far out, trying to be too spectacular and in the process too selfish, Inzaghi crossed a super ball in for Fiore; but he volleyed it sky high. Upwards.

Both goalkeepers were regularly called into action in the first half hour, then Italy took the lead. A poor clearance, in the 33rd minute, was lifted back into the area by Conte. Totti took it in his stride and stabbed the ball past Stelea. Looked a little offside.

Hagi almost equalised two minutes later; side-footing over Totti who'd come to the edge of his area. The ball curled away from an open Italian goal with no Romanian there to knock it in.

Italy were given no chance to sit on their lead. As Hagi orchestrated on the edge of the Italian area so the Italians had to counter.

Two minutes from the end of the first-half, Filipescu caught the Romanians square and Inzaghi ran on with only Stelea to beat; coolly slipping the ball to the Romanian keeper's left.
Half-time: 2-0

Second Half:
No goals in the second half but plenty of action. Romania needed to score two goals to get back into the game and had their task made even harder when they were reduced to ten men, on the hour; when Hagi received his second yellow card in five minutes, for diving in the area.

What a shame Hagi destroyed his country's chances of anything with his off the ball antics once again.

Italy had started the second half without Maldini, so both teams played without their first choice captains. At least the Italians had eleven players, though at times it didn't show.

Romania really wanted this win, with or without Hagi, but in the end poor Romanian shooting and astute Italian goal-keeping kept Dino Zoff's side on a winning streak.

Win two more games and Italy will be the new European Champions.

Result: Italy 2 -- Romania 0

Man of the Match: Inzaghi.


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