Romania vs France
Monday, 9th June at 18.00
Day three of Euro 2008 sees us return to
Switzerland; as Zurich plays host to Romania and World Cup finalists, France.
It was slightly warmer in the 'Little Big City' this afternoon but
still not quite summer.
Romania are perhaps the least-fancied team to progress from the
so-called, 'Group of Death', but with men behind the ball and content to just close France
down, the Romanians aimed to frustrate the French right from the kick-off.
Karim Benzema tried a long-shot, in the tenth minute, to test the
flight of the ball from distance.
Florent Malouda finally managed to get around the back in the 26th
minute, but the low cross was comfortably headed away.
By the half an hour mark, the game had almost slowed to a walking pace
as France continued to dominate possession, but not really able to do anything with it.
Raymond Domenech surveyed the scene, probably concerned at the lack of
realistic opportunities or shots on goal; while the atmosphere from the fans was like that
of a tennis tournament, or athletics meeting - with not much to shout and cheer about at
Romania finally kicked into gear in the last minute of the first-half;
with a succession of corners that France nervously dealt with.
The lack of urgency continued after the break, as the players just
strolled out of the dressing room without any sense of buzz in their step.
Florent Malouda finally attacked the full-backs, jiggled his way
around them, and fired just high of the goal.
Adrian Mutu responded with a run at Willy Sagnol; earning a free-kick
just outside of the French penalty area. The Romanians mixed themselves in the wall, but
the ball didn't get through them.
Finally, some action and the Romanian fans began to make themselves
heard; showing their appreciation of the attacking spirit.
But it didn't last for too long, even though the Romanian fans were
clearly happy to still be level, with ten minutes left to go. The French fans, however,
looked very gloomy.
Even with only five minutes left to play, Franck Ribery's corner
didn't inspire the French to push into the box for the all-important winner.
With Italy and Netherlands
still to play, it's not going to get any easier for France; unless they think it will.
Romania, on the other hand, made a last-second of injury time
substitution, to try and help add a new dimension to their free-kick.
Nicolae Dica didn't get the ball into the net, but the Romanians will
surely be happy with the point. Neutral fans will be thoroughly disappointed.
Romania 0 - France 0
1 Bogdan Lobont; 5 Cristian Chivu, 2 Cosmin Contra, 3 Razvan Dinca Rat, 4 Gabriel
Sebastian Tamas, 15 Dorin Goian; 6 Mirel Radoi, 16 Banel Nicolita,
11 Razvan Cocis; 10 Adrian Mutu, 21 Daniel Niculae.
23 Gregory Coupet; 5 William Gallas, 3 Eric Abidal, 19 Willy Sagnol, 15 Lilian Thuram; 7
Florent Malouda, 6 Claude Makelele, 20 Jeremy Toulalan, 22 Franck Ribery; 8 Nicolas
Anelka, 9 Karim Benzema.
Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain)
64 Mins - 8 Paul Codrea on for 11 Razvan Cocis
72 Mins - 18 Bafetimbi Gomis on for 8 Nicolas Anelka
78 Mins - 11 Samir Nasri on for 9 Karim Benzema
78 Mins - 18 Marius Niculae on for 10 Adrian Mutu
93 Mins - 20 Nicolae Dica on for 6 Mirel Radoi
4 Yellow Cards:
27 Mins - Daniel Niculae (Romania)
40 Mins - Cosmin Contra (Romania)
43 Mins - Dorin Goian (Romania)
51 Mins - Willy Sagnol (France)
Netherlands vs Italy