Romania vs. France  0 - 0


France turn on the style.....against village rivals

10 June 2008 21:06

CHATEL-SAINT-DENIS, Switzerland (AFP) - William Gallas had earlier in the day called for goals after Monday's drab 0-0 draw with Romania and France produced them here on Tuesday - albeit against a side made up of local youngsters.

Blue-uniformed police were dotted around the surrounding fields of the Chatel Saint Denis stadium but for what purpose was unclear unless it was to keep watch over a seemingly harmless herd of Jersey cows grazing by the corner flag.

On the pitch the cream of the French team were limbering up for this game, light relief from the next instalment of the group of death against Holland on Friday.

The stadium announcer proudly read out the names of the local side, each one receiving a generous reception from the 1,000 or so crowd that had turned up to watch Les Bleus.

This was clearly not a UEFA-sanctioned affair as it was sent on its way half an hour late, sufficient time to allow the menacing black clouds to roll in off the nearby mountains.

With thankfully not a Romanian in sight the assembled gathering quite naturally wanted goals and with Thierry Henry, absent due to a mysterious and unspecified injury for Monday's moribund draw, on hand expectations were high.

As one of the policemen made his way surreptitiously over to inspect some bushes behaving strangely - Marco van Basten in camouflage perhaps trying to catch a sneak of Friday's opposition - the game kicked off with the locals' number ten displaying some Zidanesque skills to round Sidney Govou in the opening seconds.

On ten minutes Patrick Vieira tried a shot at goal.

Normally this would not be worth noting but given the concern surrounding the Inter Milan star's state of health after his left thigh injury it will have come as a relief to all concerned that he was playing a match, even at Chatel Saint Denis.

For the record his effort went high.

Samir Nasri scored France's first goal at Euro 2008, a neat touch that he and his teammates hope will open the floodgates to crush the Dutch on Friday in Berne.

Perhaps as minutes later Patrice Evra, the Manchester United defender chasing a unique Premier League-Champions League-Euro treble, knocked in the second.

The locals were playing with a lot more offensive fire than Adrian Mutu and his fellow Romanian forwards but as the blue tide continued to press back the white tide Nasri got his double.

Then Francois Clerc came off second best in a clash with the locals' number 10 who had the good grace to ruffle his hair by way of apology - the gesture didn't appear to impress the Lyon defender.

Bafetimbi Gomes,who had made only a fleeting appearance in Zurich the day before, was outwitted by the local's keeper, who was clearly a Rossinerri fan kitted out in black and red.

Hearts must have stopped in the French camp around the half an hour mark when Henry was brought to his knees in the box after a challenge.

He stayed down for a minute then mercifully for French fans everywhere got to his feet, and seconds later scored.

A morale boosting win then, by 7-0, but the real challenge lies an hour or so away in Berne on Friday when Ruud van Nistelrooy et al are waiting to ambush France's hopes of staying on course for a third European crown.


Echos of the World Cup as France open with drab draw

9 June 2008 20:41

ZURICH, Switzerland (AFP) - Raymond Domenech drew parallels with France's drab opening stalemate with Switzerland at the 2006 World Cup after a similarly uninspiring result in Monday's Euro 2008 opener against Romania.

In Germany Domenech's men gradually clicked into gear to make it out of their group and all the way to the final in Berlin.

He will be hoping his team read from the same hymn book here but there is one glaring difference.

At the World Cup, aside from the Swiss France's first round rivals were South Korea and Togo.

Without wishing to belittle them those nations are a long way off the might of France's Group C opposition - with Holland and world champions Italy coming up on Friday in Berne and next Tuesday back in Zurich respectively.

All the pre-competition talk of this group of death was of France and Italy squeezing out the Dutch and Romanians but after Monday's first shots were fired it's all looking a great deal different now.

The Dutch top the group after their sizzling 3-0 win over the Azzurri in Berne, with France and Romania tied for second and the Italians propping up the table.

Domenech was bereft of France's most prolific scorer Thierry Henry against Romania and how he must hope the Barcelona striker is fit to face the Dutch after Karim Benzema and Nicolas Anelka fired blanks in Zurich.

"Thierry's doing better. He had a small problem and wasn't quite ready for today. He'll be back on track tomorrow," Les Bleus' manager reported before evoking that World Cup game against Euro co-hosts Switzerland.

"It's the same time, the same weather, a similar stadium, and what's more just like that day in Germany our coach today stopped at every red light on the way to the stadium, and like today Claude Makelele was the man of the match."

"We were all a bit nervous, that's what happens with a first match."

He added: "I wish we had won this game 10-0 with many goal chances but that didn't happen.

"But remember Romania defended well and we didn't manage to lose them, there was always a risk that they'd do something on the break.

"We've known this group was going to be tough for six months, today we saw the confirmation.

"I'll be disappointed if we don't qualify. I'm already preparing for the next game against the Dutch."

Henry agreed, saying: "It's a little like the World Cup. The Romanians defended superbly well. We have to raise our game against the Dutch."

Both Domenech and his Romanian counterpart Victor Piturca suggested climactic conditions had hardly helped the players.

"This has been the first very hot day after a week of cold weather - it made things difficult and didn't help the teams to find solutions."

Piturca is an impassive character but he must have been chuffed to bits with coming away from the game with a priceless point in front of vociferous support from thousands of Romanian supporters.

"It was very important to play well in front of all those fans - we felt their hearts supporting us and I'm really glad we managed to satisfy them.

"Personally we would have wanted the three points. France may no longer be at the same level as before - or perhaps they've just played in too many major finals and were being generous!

"My aim was to win three points but a draw is a fair result. Both teams are still in a good position to qualify."

Romania striker Adrian Mutu, who played despite a death in the family, reckoned to get a point from France was something of an achievement.

"They didn't underestimate us and did everything to try and win. It's going to be hard for all the group."

The Fiorentina star added: "I didn't play as I'm used to playing. My grandmother died a few days ago and it was difficult for me but we played with courage and the support of our fans."

He paid tribute to Piturca.

"His tactics worked perfectly this evening."

While France meet the Dutch in Berne Romania return to Zurich for their date with world champions Italy on Friday.


Quick Report: Romania 0-0 France

9 June 2008 20:14

ZÜRICH (SW) - Romania and France failed to score in their Euro 2008 Group C opener. France were the stronger side but had difficulties creating chances.

Throughout most of the match, the French dominated at the Letzigrund stadium of Zürich.

But Domenech's men were kept away from keeper Lobont's goal by his defense, who turned out to be hard to get past.

Every now and then, Romania managed to put some pressure on 'Les Bleus' but real, clear chances never really appeared.

Romania will be the happier side after this draw, which was the first goalless result at the 2008 European Championships.


Minute by Minute: Romania - France

9 June 2008 17:08

ZÜRICH (SW) - Day 3 of Euro 2008 kicked off with the Group C clash between Romania and France. SoccerWay kept you up to date on the most important events.

Final score: 0-0

More match information: Here.

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FULL TIME - Romania will be the happier side as France are held to a scoreless draw. In fact it's the first draw at this tournament after the previous four matches ended with winners and losers.

Minute 90+3: We're in the last minute and Romania are going to make one last change. Radoi leaves the pitch for Nicolae Dica.

Minute 90+1: The referee has added three minutes. Just 180 seconds left for either team to make a difference.

Minute 85: It looks like France are starting to get more afraid to lose this match than inspire to win it, as Lobont hasn't had to intervene in a while.

Minute 81: Romania get a corner kick and Rat gets to shoot on goal but it's deflected by a teammate.

Minute 78: Skipper Chivu fails to get it on goal. Romania also make a change now as Marius Niculae replaces Mutu.

Minute 77: Domenech takes off Benzema for the talented Nasri, and Romania prepare to take a free kick at a dangerous spot.

Minute 75: A far shot from Eric Abidal curves away from Lobont's goal and ends up going well wide.

Minute 72: There he comes, and Nicolas Anelka makes way. Not too surprising, this move.

Minute 71: France are about to bring on striker Gomis.

Minute 70: The French try to break through the Romanian defense but the men in yellow are hard to get past. Just twenty minutes are left in regular time to break the deadlock.

Minute 64: Another attempt by Benzema in a crowded penalty area, but the ball goes well wide.

Minute 64: Romania perform the first substitution of the match. Cosis comes off for Codrea.

Minute 57: Benzema shoots on goal from outside the penalty area and Lobont does well to collect.

Minute 53: Rat sends in a left winged cross but the ball is just a bit too high for Niculita.

Minute 52: Mutu takes the following free kick but hits the wall.

Minute 51: A good attack from the Romanians forces Willy Sagnol to foul Adrian Mutu and the Frenchman concedes a yellow card.

Minute 49: Good chance for France as Florent Malouda finds a way into the penalty area and fires a shot just past the post-bar junction.

Minute 48: A Mutu free kick from the left wing curves towards the goal but sails just past the right post.

Minute 46: The second half has begun and no changes have been made.

HALF TIME - And so the first half goes by goalless. France were the dominant side but failed to create real chances. Romania did try to put some pressure on their opponents at some moments.

Minute 45+1: The Romanians put some serious pressure in the last minutes of this half, and France really need to stay focused.

Minute 44: Romania clears and the danger passes.

Minute 43: Goian is the third Romanian to be booked for a foul on Ribery. France have a free kick.

Minute 43: Good chance for Benzema who receives a short pass from Ribery but his following effort is saved by Lobont.

Minute 40: Cosmin Contra gets a yellow card for bad sportsmanship as the Romanian keeps a Frenchman from taking the ball for a free kick.

Minute 37: Anelka comes down the right wing and should try to find a team mate, but instead tries a shot from an impossible angle. The ball hits the side net.

Minute 33: A French corner kick ends with Nicolas Anelka trying a header but it lacks precision.

Minute 30: Malouda takes the free kick and hits the wall. Poor effort.

Minute 29: Rat fouls Benzema and France get a free kick at about 32 meters from the goal.

Minute 27: Romania striker Niculae gets the first yellow card for handling in the French penalty area.

Minute 26: Dangerous short cross from Florent Malouda but a defender heads it away.

Minute 22: Romania captain Chivu sends a high pass into the area but teammate Niculae wasn't expecting it. This had the potential to cause trouble.

Minute 17: Dangerous moment near the Romanian goal as Lobont needs to come out of his goal to get in the way of a French attack but doesn't control properly. The French don't take advantage though.

Minute 16: Niculae gives it a try and shoots from outside the penalty area. His low attempt goes well wide of the far post.

Minute 10: Benzema strikes from a distance but his effort goes just over and wide.

Minute 9: Adrian Mutu gets the ball on the edge of the French penalty area but doesn't manage a shot on goal.

Minute 6: If anything, the Romanians show how motivated they are today, having committed no less than six fouls in the first five minutes.

Minute 3: Not much going on in the first few minutes. The French enjoy most of the possession but haven't created a chance yet.

Kick-off: The first Group C match at Euro 2008 has begun!

Pre-match: While the anthems are played at the Letzigrund, both Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira have to watch from the bench as they're not in the starting line-up.

Pre-match: The stadium in the Swiss town of Zürich is slowly filling up. The temperature is comfortable at 22 degrees Celsius and it's not raining at the moment.


Preview: France - Romania

8 June 2008 15:00

Two years after just losing out on World Cup victory, France will be more than motivated to take the European trophy. To do so, a positive result against Romania is necessary.

But the Romanians, who won their qualification group ahead of the Netherlands to get to this tournament, will do anything in their power to avoid defeat.

And national pride is the only reason for which they do it, as the Romanian team unanimously turned down a bonus offered by Steaua president Gig Becali last month.

If it's up to Romania captain Cristian Chivu, his side have a good chance of making it into the next round: "The other teams will certainly respect us but I don't think they feel we have a chance. They know it won't be easy against us but it's to our advantage that they don't know too much about us. They only know two, three, maybe four of our players and I think this will be our surprise - the fact that they don't know us too well."

The French have been going through a rather tough series of friendly matches against South American nations ahead of this tournament. Although no goals were conceded, only three were scored in three games.

Pressure will therefore be mounting as 'Les Bleus' begin their 2008 tournament. Pressure that could be on the shoulders of captain Patrick Vieira, but it is still not certain whether he will play on Monday.

Vieira suffered a thigh injury last week and has until Sunday night to show coach Domenech that he is fit enough to make an appearance.

Twelve years ago, these two teams also met for their Euro 96 opener. That match was won 1-0 by the French who went on to reach the semi finals that year.

The match will be played at 18:00 CET at the Letzigrund, in the Swiss town of Zürich. Spaniard Manuel Mejuto González is the referee, assisted by linesmen Juan Carlos Yuste Jiménez and Jesús Calvo Guadamuro. Darren Cann of England has other responsibilities as fourth official.

UEFA Nations League table

# Team MP D P
1 0 +0 0
2 0 +0 0
3 0 +0 0
4 0 +0 0

UEFA Nations League table

# Team MP D P
1 0 +0 0
2 0 +0 0
3 0 +0 0
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