A row sparked up in Romania’s news conference ahead of their Euro 2016 match against Switzerland when striker Denis Alibec was accused of going for a smoke before being introduced as a substitute in the opening Group A defeat to France.
Alibec came on after 61 minutes at the Stade de France, shortly before Bogdan Stancu equalised in the 2-1 defeat, but Romanian publication Gazeta Sporturilor published a story on Tuesday alleging that the Astra player was found smoking a cigarette by a member of coach Anghel Iordanescu’s coaching team at half-time.
Ahead of Wednesday’s game at the Parc des Princes, Iordanescu was also asked by a Gazeta journalist about claims of unrest between his players and staff and the veteran tactician smoldered in response.
“I’d like to say that you are a liar. You are misinforming people.There is a deception because there is a very good relationship between the players, the staff and the coaches of the national team,” Iordanescu fumed, before adding he was unable to keep tabs on Alibec as he was watching the match – but believed nothing untoward occurred.
“I don’t need to defend Alibec,” he said. “I think it is really difficult to say what he really did because I was watching the game.
“No one from my staff told me that Alibec smoked a cigarette. I don’t understand your position to be honest.
“Unfortunately you are just lying to the media. It’s misinformation. Personally, I think you had better stay at home and not be here.”
Iordanescu’s customary pleasantries of thanking the media for attending his briefing had long dissipated by this stage and the 62-year-old passed up the opportunity to give a vote of confidence to Stancu.
The Genclerbirligi forward missed a gilt-edged chance at the start of each half, profligacy that was ultimately punished by Dimitri Payet’s stunning 89th-minute winner for the hosts.
“I think that I would not comment [on Stancu],” Iordanescu said. “In football, everything is possible. Every person can score and can miss his chance.”
Looking towards the match in Paris, Iordanescu knows his men have little margin for error.
“After our first game against France it is all or nothing,” he added “I hope my players will be motivated, concentrated and determined to win.
“Our objective from the football federation is to qualify from the group.”