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No way through for Romania and France

Romania 0-0 France
An edgy game in Bucharest left both sides with cause for concern, with the top places in qualifying Group D still to be secured.

France's Bacary Sagna and Dorin Goian of Romania rise for a challenge
France's Bacary Sagna and Dorin Goian of Romania rise for a challenge ©Getty Images

A goalless draw at the National Arena did neither side many favours in Group D with France's lead at the top of the section cut to a point while Romania's play-off chances look slender despite the fact they overtook Belarus in third place.

A heavy pitch in Bucharest meant it was not a night for stylish football, but while Romania goalkeeper Ciprian Tătăruşanu was to have a quiet night, his French counterpart Hugo Lloris had a few nervous moments before the final whistle blew.

Victor Piţurcă's side were quick off the mark, and came close to scoring after only two minutes, but Bănel Nicoliță's free-kick was well saved by Lloris. Goalmouth action dwindled thereafter, with France's best chance coming just past the hour mark, when Yohan Cabaye shot just off target from 20 metres.

Sensing the urgency of the occasion, Romania kept at their task, and Ciprian Marica found himself in a useful position on 68 minutes only for Adil Rami to block his shot. Marica delivered a dangerous ball in from the right later on, but as Bodgan Stancu sent it wide from inside the box, it was clear that Romania's luck was out.

The result leaves France just a point clear of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1-0 winners at home against Belarus. Albania will be their next opponents in Paris on 7 October while Romania meet Belarus on the same night needing to close a four-point gap to second place in the section.