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France aiming for Romanian repeat

Twelve years after the winning start they made to EURO '96™ at Romania's expense, France will hope to repeat the trick when the teams meet in their opening fixture.

Adrian Mutu is a survivor from the Romania side that reached the finals in 2000
Adrian Mutu is a survivor from the Romania side that reached the finals in 2000 ©Getty Images

Twelve years after the winning start they made to EURO '96™ at Romania's expense, France will hope to repeat the trick when the teams meet in their opening Group C fixture in Zurich.

• Aimé Jacquet's men had Christophe Dugarry to thank in 1996 as his 25th-minute goal gave France a 1-0 win against Romania in Newcastle. That victory precipitated a run to the semi-finals for Les Bleus but for Romania, it was the first of three defeats as they returned home from England without a point.

• Romania will hope for better in Austria and Switzerland after qualifying in style as one of the seven group winners. However, with world champions Italy and the Netherlands still to play, France too will be desperate for a positive result in the first game of what appears to be the toughest of the four UEFA EURO 2008™ sections.

• Recent history favours France, the winners in the teams' last three encounters, the middle one of which was the aforementioned victory at EURO '96™.

• The teams for that match in Newcastle on 10 June 1996 were:
Romania: Bogdan Stelea, Dan Petrescu, Miodrag Belodedici, Ioan Lupescu, Gheorghe Popescu, Marius Lăcătuş, Florin Răducioiu, Gheorghe Hagi, Dorinel Munteanu, Tibor Selymes, Gheorghe Mihali.
France: Bernard Lama, Eric Di Meco, Laurent Blanc, Vincent Guérin, Didier Deschamps, Marcel Desailly, Youri Djorkaeff, Zinédine Zidane, Christophe Dugarry, Lilian Thuram, Christian Karembeu.

• France prevailed 2-1 when the teams last met in a friendly at Stade de France on 13 February 2002. Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit gave France a two-goal half-time advantage before Ioan Ganea halved the deficit in the closing minutes.

• The teams that day were:
France: Ulrich Ramé, Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Philippe Christanval, Vincent Candela, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Zinédine Zidane, Robert Pirès, Thierry Henry, Christophe Dugarry.
Romania: Bogdan Lobonţ, Cosmin Contra, Gheorghe Popescu, Cristian Chivu, Mirel Rădoi, Dorinel Munteanu, Răzvan Raţ, Adrian Mutu, Tiberiu Ghioane, Viorel Moldovan, Adrian Ilie.

• France's Claude Makelele featured as a substitute.

• France also won on their most recent visit to Romania with Karembeu, Djorkaeff and Zidane scoring in a 3-1 qualifying success on the road to EURO '96™ in October 1995.

• Romania's last victory against France was a 2-0 friendly success in Bucharest in April 1972.

• Overall, France have recorded six wins to Romania's three in the course of ten head-to-head meetings.

• Romania qualified as winners of Group G, finishing three points above the Netherlands with a record of W9 D2 L1. They secured their finals berth with two games to spare by winning 2-0 in Luxembourg on 17 October last year.

• Their best performance in the UEFA European Championship was in 2000 when they reached the quarter-finals before losing to Italy. Romania's two prior final round appearances in 1984 and 1996 had failed to produce a single victory but they beat England at UEFA EURO 2000™ to advance from the group stage. That was Romania's last taste of a major tournament.

• The only survivors from Romania's UEFA EURO 2000™ campaign are Bogdan Lobonţ, Cristian Chivu, Contra, Florentin Petre and Adrian Mutu.

• France qualified as Group B runners-up behind Italy with a record of W8 D2 L2. Their two defeats both came against Scotland but Raymond Domenech's men – who took four points off Italy – recovered from those upsets and had their qualification assured by Scotland's home defeat by the Azzurri on 17 November last year.

• France have been European champions twice before, lifting the Henri Delaunay trophy in Paris in 1984 and repeating the feat in Rotterdam in 2000.

• That 1984 triumph remains the only time the host nation have won the UEFA European Championship since the introduction of an enlarged final tournament in 1980.

• In their last appearance at a major tournament, France finished runners-up at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany, going down 5-3 on penalties to Italy after a 1-1 draw.

• As a player, France coach Domenech appeared for FC Girondins de Bordeaux in a 1-0 win against FC Universitatea Craiova in the 1982/83 UEFA Cup third round. He missed the return fixture in Romania which Bordeaux lost 2-0.

• Romania forward Nicolae Dică scored past France goalkeeper Grégory Coupet in FC Steaua Bucureşti's 1-1 draw at Olympique Lyonnais in the UEFA Champions League group stage in 2006/07. The previous season he struck twice in a 4-0 win for Steaua against another French side, RC Lens, in the UEFA Cup group stage.

• Romania's Chivu plays alongside Vieira at FC Internazionale Milano.

• Romania duo Daniel Niculae and Gabriel Tamaş play their club football in France with AJ Auxerre.

• Romania forward Mutu is a former team-mate of France's Makelele at Chelsea FC.

• Romania coach Victor Piţurcă finished his playing career in France at Lens in 1989/90.

• This is the 13th edition of the UEFA European Championship and the eighth that features a final tournament with a group phase.