Romania coach Anghel Iordanescu says his players have “the chance of a generation” to advance to the knockout stages of a major tournament when they face Albania at Euro 2016 on Sunday.
Iordanescu’s side are third in Group A with one point from two matches played and in need of a victory to try and progress to the knockout stages of an international tournament for the first time since Euro 2000.
A narrow 2-1 loss to hosts France and a 1-1 draw with Switzerland has left them with hope of emulating a squad containing the likes of Gheorghe Hagi, Gheorghe Popescu and Dan Petrescu, as well as a young Cristian Chivu, who eliminated England en route to the quarter-finals in Belgium and the Netherlands 16 years ago.
“Our players have to understand this is a chance of a generation,” Iordanescu said.
“Romanian football needs this performance. It’s been eight years since a Romanian team made the Euros. This is a lifetime chance to please the fans. We have to be concentrated, avoid spending energy on useless things and our boys have to understand that.”
Iordanescu was unhappy at Romania’s official pre-match training session being switched from Stade de Lyon to the pitches outside Stade de Gerland – a 20-minute drive away – over concerns about the surface at the new venue following heavy rain in the city this week.
“From our point of view, today, we had a very full, intense day,” he said.
“We took the train and we came to you from Paris. We were surprised that our program was changed. You carry out the press conference here and the training session on another pitch. This creates some difficulties for us. We will finish our training session later and we have to eat very late the day before the match.”
The coach also refused to provide a specific update on the condition of the players with injury doubts ahead of the game, including Mihai Pintilii and Razvan Rat, who have undergone their own individually tailored training regime in a bid to be fit for the game after both were subbed off last time out.
“The situation is quite delicate,” he said.
“It’s very difficult to tell you now exactly what’s happening. Our players had a separate program, a special program, with the coordination of our medics. They won’t have a common, normal session,” he said of the run-out in Gerland.