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Victor Piţurcă said the first rule of playing the Netherlands is "you can't let them score first" as Marco van Basten's men ended Romania's adventure in Berne. A win against a second-string Dutch side would have put Romania into the quarter-finals, but a 2-0 defeat, coupled with Italy's 2-0 win against France in Zurich, conspired to end Romania's progress, after honourable draws in both of their opening games at UEFA EURO 2008™. "Life goes on," said Piţurcă, while his Dutch counterpart Van Basten celebrated the great spirit in his squad and revealed he would be keeping a close watch on Wednesday's Group D game between Sweden and Russia.
Victor Piţurcă, Romania coach
Our great adventure is over. It's a pity. We had a chance and could not take it, but that's football. The Dutch team were better and fresher than us tonight and hearing the half-time score from Zurich possibly had an influence on the players. Overall, I think our tournament was very good. We stood our ground in a group with three fantastic teams and not losing the first two matches against the world champions and vice-champions was an achievement. If we had scored that penalty against Italy we would have qualified.
We should have been mentally stronger than the Dutch today. Maybe we were a bit tired. We couldn't change the players who were involved in the first two matches and probably the strain took its toll. We lacked cohesion. We definitely took enough risks, but against a team like the Netherlands you can't play like that. Ultimately, you can't let them score first, and that's what France and Italy also discovered. We can learn from what has happened here and the experience we gain will be very important. Life goes on. This tournament will be over then we will have to think about the [FIFA]World Cup.
Marco van Basten, Netherlands coach
It's a pity we have to leave Berne because we have been very happy here but that's the way the tournament is scheduled. We had a good game. We started not too fresh but that was maybe because the pitch was a bit wet. After a difficult 20 minutes we came into the game and created a lot of chances and it was a shame that it was still 0-0 at half-time. So, we didn't make any changes but made a couple of substitutions with the quarter-finals in mind. In the end we completely controlled the game and could have won 3-0. Three games, nine points, nine goals, I think we have to be happy with that.
Saturday [in the quarter-finals] is another game, though, we have to start again from zero at that point. We are going to watch Sweden play Russia tomorrow and then we can analyse the game and find out about who we have to play, I had a very simple reasoning behind making so many changes today. We are already through, we had two very difficult games against Italy and France, we have the quarter-finals to come and hopefully more matches, and this is going to involve a lot of physical effort. We have a very broad selection [of players] and I am very happy with this and the fact we handled these three matches so well. They are good players with good skills and we feel very good together. The atmosphere is excellent, they laugh together and if we continue playing like this I don't know how it is going to end, but I hope it is going to last a long time.
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