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Preview: France – Romania

SoccerNews in European Championships 8 Jun 2008

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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.

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