Group C: Romania - France [P + R]


Reserve Team
Monday 9 June 2008
Letzigrund Stadion, Zürich

Chivu ready to take centre stage

Cristian Chivu is looking forward to one of the biggest nights of his career, when he will lead Romania into their opening Group C fixture against France.

Great honour
The FC Internazionale Milano defender was a callow youth making his way in the national team when Romania last reached the finals of a major tournament, UEFA EURO 2000™. Eight years later Chivu the man cannot hide his excitement at the prospect of helping his country back into the limelight. "It's always a great honour to captain your country but to lead your country into the finals of a tournament like this is something else," Chivu told "It's been a long time coming for Romania but finally we have made it and we look forward to these games against France, Italy and the Netherlands. I was younger when we last played in the [UEFA] European Championship and there's more expectation on me and the other survivors of that team, but it's a challenge I'm looking forward to."

United front
Chivu is expected to start in an unaccustomed midfield role and not his favoured centre-back berth, but wherever he plays the 27-year-old anticipates a tough match against the 2006 FIFA World Cup runners-up. "I've said before that centre-half is my preferred position but I have been playing this role for my country for a while and my manager [Victor Piţurcă] thinks I do a good job for the team," said Chivu. "The eleven players who start the match will all have to defend and all have to attack. That's what we did in qualifying and why we were so successful. And we hope to continue that here and now."

Sad news
The players trained at the Letzigrund Stadion in Zurich on Sunday, including Adrian Mutu who is dealing with the death of his grandmother back in Romania. His colleagues are full of admiration for the bravery being shown by the ACF Fiorentina striker and his bereavement has made the Tricolorii all the more determined to take something from their meeting with Les Bleus. "He is a great player and he is a strong person inside which will allow him to overcome this setback," added Chivu. "He has proved this over the last two days with some excellent performances in training."

I still get nervous, says Thuram

Few players in the history of the game can claim to have enjoyed as long and as successul a career as Lilian Thuram, but for all his experience, the France defender admits he is likely to have a sleepless night ahead of his team's opening UEFA EURO 2008™ match against Romania.

Having already played 140 times for his country, winning the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Championship two years later, few would have expected the 36-year-old to be suffering from nerves on the eve of his seventh major finals. Yet the FC Barcelona defender, who will captain France against Romania if Patrick Vieira misses out, says he will remain on edge until the game kicks off in Zurich on Monday. "When you start out in such a tough competition, it's only natural to feel some apprehension," he explained. "I have some doubts. But when you're up against a top team like Romania it's only natural to be a little bit worried."

Thuram has enjoyed mixed fortunes with Les Bleus, contributing greatly to the highs of 1998 and 2000, but also experiencing the lows of 2002 and 2004, when they failed to meet expectations. He is well placed, therefore, to gauge the prospects of the current team. "I feel we're ready," said Thuram, who is poised to become the first man to make 15 appearances in EURO finals. "The team is in the right state of mind and the doubt that's present is a good sign because you perform better when you play with a bit of fear. There's no magic formula but if we stay focused we've got a good chance."

Mutu praised
The former AS Monaco FC player is France's only survivor from EURO '96™, when Aimé Jacquet's team defeated Romania 1-0 in their opening fixture before progressing to the semi-finals, but admits he has forgotten everything about that game. Thuram was more interested in discussing the present Romania side, saying: "They're very strong. In qualifying, they beat the Netherlands and drew with them, so perhaps they're the side we should fear most." One of Thuram's biggest concerns is the presence of his former Juventus team-mate Adrian Mutu. "In his position, he's one of the best in the world. He's been showing his talent in Italy for several years already and can provide inspiration at any moment," he said.

'Solid base'
Mutu might need to be at his best if Romania are to break down a French rearguard that has emerged as one of the meanest in international football, conceding just five times in 12 qualifiers. Since Thuram was talked out of international retirement in 2005, he has forged a formidable partnership with William Gallas in central defence and is hoping to keep things tight again this summer. "It's very important for the team to have a solid defensive base. A draw could be a good result in the first game because the most important thing is that we don't lose."

România: Lobonţ - Contra, Tamaş, Goian, Raţ - Cociş, Rădoi, Chivu - Nicoliţă, D. Niculae, Mutu

Franţa: Coupet - Sagnol, Thuram, Gallas, Abidal - Ribery, Makelele, Toulalan, Malouda - Anelka, Benzema

Ubik Valis

Croatian Viking
UltrasViola;2533943 said:

Date:Monday 9 June 2008
Place:Letzigrund Stadion, Zürich

my prediction Romania - France 2-1

Please remember to put the [P + R] in the title, for threads like these.

2-1 Romania


Unreliable deceiver
Staff member
0 - 3 France (H)

Btw, Only one team per match has scored in the group phase so far...

newbie original

We apologize for keeping the yellow too long
Yellow Card
No Henry so Anelka plays up front. This is going to be a tricky game for the French....personally, I think they'll work hard but get nowhere.

Romania 1-0 France

Johnny_Big;2534269 said:
Shocker for Romania, 2-1, imo.

Well, it's the group of death so it won't be that big of a shock.

Num Lock

Reserve Team
we need to win our opener, i think Romania will be harder team to play than the Netherlands.

it's looking like Pat and Titi will miss the opener, group of death indeed


Starting XI
I hope there will be a lot of Romanians at the match, the guys need some solid support. We must not be afraid of the French because that would make us an easy prey... hope the guys have a good morale.



România: Lobonţ - Contra, Tamaş, Goian, Raţ - Cociş, Rădoi, Chivu - Nicoliţă, D. Niculae, Mutu

Franţa: Coupet - Sagnol, Thuram, Gallas, Abidal - Ribery, Makelele, Toulalan, Malouda - Anelka, Benzema


Starting XI
BOOORING but that plays into Romania's strategy...a counter and it could be over for France...Btw what the heck is Domenech thinking by playing Benzema so far back...anyway, probably second most boring half of the tournament so far