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Romanian coach tells Dutch: it is in your interest to lose

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Jun 2008

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Romania coach Victor Piturca believes it will be in Holland's interest to lose to his side on Tuesday and ensure that France and Italy are both eliminated from Euro 2008 before the knockout phase.

With the Dutch having already clinched top spot in group C, Marco van Basten can afford to field a weakened side against the Romanians, who have been made favourites to take the three points by most bookmakers.

Asked if he thought the bookies had called the match right, Piturca responded: “I don't know what they think but maybe they think that the Netherlands don't want to play France and Italy (again).

“They are quite logical. That is how the Dutch should also think. For their own good they should not play against France and Italy in the semi-finals.”

Despite that belief, Piturca does not expect Holland to give his side an easy ride and he claimed he was unperturbed by French and Italian attempts to goad Marco van Basten's squad into playing for victory, which have reportedly included a personal call from Italy coach Roberto Donadoni to his friend and old AC Milan team-mate van Basten.

“I think it is normal they resort to any weapon, it is in their interest,” Piturca said.

“The Dutch have to care about their own interest, we have to care about ours and we will see what happens.”

If France and Italy's match were to end in a draw, Romania would go through as long as they avoid defeat by three goals or more.

Piturca, who is in his second spell as national team coach having been pushed out by player power first time round, however sees little chance of the Italians and French battling to a stalemate.

“Both teams need a win in order to qualify so quite probably at a certain moment it will be an open game because they need to score to win the three points. It can also be 0-0 but I am not counting on this. I am counting on what we are going to do.”

Romania know what it takes to beat the Dutch having secured a 1-0 win over van Basten's men in Romania during qualifying for the tournament, as well as having held their hosts to a goalless draw in Amsterdam.

Piturca admitted, however, that Holland were in far better form now than they were back then, and he also anticipates that van Basten's fringe players will be desperate to make an impact on the tournament.

“We absolutely need a win,” he said. “We are probably playing the team in the greatest shape in this final tournament so our concentration will be decisive.

“It is obvious the Dutch players who have not played yet will want to show they are valuable players but it is still true that the good games were made by the first-choice players.

“We know Holland well and we also know how much we suffered to get those four points (in qualifying) against them.”

Piturca claimed he would not be paying any attention to events in Zurich, where the French and Italians will stage their reenactment of the 2006 World Cup final.

“I don't care about that game, I will find out at the end,” he said. “I am not interested. I am not going to coach my team better or worse depending on the other result. What is really important is the way we play.”

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