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Canny Romania leave France frustrated

Published: Tuesday 10 June 2008, 0.49CET
Romania 0-0 France
Victor Piţurcă's men made a promising start by holding Les Bleus in Zurich as Group C began.
by Matt Spiro
from Letzigrund Stadion
Canny Romania leave France frustrated
Gabriel Tamaş of Romania and Florent Malouda of France battle for the ball ©Getty Images

Match statistics

RomaniaFrance

Goals scored0
 
0
Attempts on target0
1
Attempts off target4
 
8
Corners3
 
3
Fouls committed17
 
22
Yellow cards3
 
1
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 27/06/2012 11:56 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Tuesday 10 June 2008, 0.49CET

Canny Romania leave France frustrated

Romania 0-0 France
Victor Piţurcă's men made a promising start by holding Les Bleus in Zurich as Group C began.

Romania made a promising start to their UEFA EURO 2008 campaign, holding one of the tournament favourites, France, to a goalless draw at the Letzigrund Stadion in Group C.

Victor Piţurcă's side, appearing in their first major finals for eight years, restricted Les Bleus to a handful of half-chances as the two-time European champions struggled to impose their quality on proceedings. Nicolas Anelka was guilty of missing the game's clearest opportunity when he headed Franck Ribéry's cross over in the first half, but with Thierry Henry confined to the substitutes' bench, Raymond Domenech's men lacked a cutting edge and rarely put their well-organised opponents in serious difficulty.

These teams boasted two of the meanest defensive records in qualifying and from the opening exchanges it was obvious the contest would be tight. France monopolised possession early on yet rarely threatened Bogdan Lobonţ's goal as Mirel Rădoi, Răzvan Cociş and Cristian Chivu tenaciously closed down space in front of their back four. With Henry still not fully fit, Anelka and Karim Benzema started in attack for the first time, and both fired in wayward shots during a cagey first ten minutes.

Daniel Niculae had been given the task of leading Romania's front line on his own and succeeded in posing problems to Lilian Thuram and William Gallas. On 16 minutes the striker, who plays in France with AJ Auxerre, might have done better than drag his shot wide after Adrian Mutu's deft knockdown. The response was instant, Claude Makelele releasing Florent Malouda through the middle, only for Lobonţ to sprint off his line and deny the winger.

That would prove the only time the pacy France forwards got in behind Romania's canny defenders. Ribéry and Benzema began interchanging positions without much joy, although the FC Bayern München playmaker did lay on a golden chance for Anelka on 33 minutes. After playing a corner short, Ribéry's cross found the Chelsea FC striker unmarked but he headed over. Anelka vented his frustration four minutes later by blasting into the side netting from an impossible angle, as Benzema's calls for a cross went unanswered.

Both sides began the second period in more attack-minded fashion. Malouda was first to threaten, bursting past Cosmin Contra but shooting over the crossbar, before Romania enjoyed their best spell. Chivu's influence was growing and when his slide-rule pass found Mutu, the ACF Fiorentina player was felled by Willy Sagnol on the edge of the box. But as the France fans held their breath, Mutu directed his free-kick into the wall.

Les Bleus finished in the ascendancy. Ribéry's low centre from the right reached Benzema unmarked just inside the penalty area but his first-time shot was straight at Lobonţ on 57 minutes. The Olympique Lyonnais youngster then miscued another right-footed attempt after latching on to Anelka's header. Bafétimbi Gomis and Samir Nasri were introduced for the closing stages, yet neither succeeded in making inroads, as Romania held firm until the very end.

Last updated: 10/01/12 16.03CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/news/newsid=706830.html#romania+frustrate+france

Lineups

Romania

Romania

France

France

1
LobonţBogdan Lobonţ (GK)
23
CoupetGrégory Coupet (GK)
2
ContraCosmin Contra
Yellow Card40
3
AbidalÉric Abidal
3
RaţRăzvan Raţ
5
GallasWilliam Gallas
4
TamaşGabriel Tamaş
6
MakeleleClaude Makelele
5
ChivuCristian Chivu (C)
7
MaloudaFlorent Malouda
6
RădoiMirel Rădoi
Substitution90+3
8
AnelkaNicolas Anelka
Substitution72
10
MutuAdrian Mutu
Substitution78
9
BenzemaKarim Benzema
Substitution78
11
CocişRăzvan Cociş
Substitution64
15
ThuramLilian Thuram (C)
15
GoianDorin Goian
Yellow Card43
19
SagnolWilly Sagnol
Yellow Card51
16
NicoliţăBănel Nicoliţă
20
ToulalanJérémy Toulalan
21
D.NiculaeDaniel Niculae
Yellow Card27
22
RibéryFranck Ribéry

Substitutes

12
PopaMarius Popa (GK)
1
MandandaSteve Mandanda (GK)
23
StăncioiuEduard Stăncioiu (GK)
16
FreySébastien Frey (GK)
7
PetreFlorentin Petre
2
BoumsongJean-Alain Boumsong
8
CodreaPaul Codrea
Substitution64
4
VieiraPatrick Vieira
9
MaricaCiprian Marica
10
GovouSidney Govou
13
SăpunaruCristian Săpunaru
11
NasriSamir Nasri
Substitution78
14
GhioneaSorin Ghionea
12
HenryThierry Henry
17
MoţiCosmin Moţi
13
EvraPatrice Evra
18
M.NiculaeMarius Niculae
Substitution78
14
ClercFrançois Clerc
19
CristeaAdrian Cristea
17
SquillaciSébastien Squillaci
20
DicăNicolae Dică
Substitution90+3
18
GomisBafétimbi Gomis
Substitution72
22
RaduŞtefan Radu
21
L. DiarraLassana Diarra

Coach

Victor Piturca (ROU) Raymond Domenech (FRA)

Referee

Manuel Mejuto González (ESP)

Assistant referees

Juan Yuste (ESP), Jesús Calvo Guadamuro (ESP)

Fourth official

Olegário Benquerença (POR)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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