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March 23, 2023

National football team in disarray: 0-2 at home against Israel

Timisoara –National football team players wore their new, red-colour, Spain-look-alike jerseys for the first time on Wednesday evening, but unfortunately their performance was far from that of the Spaniards. Crucial players such as Mutu and Chivu were absent from the line-up. Romania was unable to take advantage of playing at home, losing the friendly with a surprising 0-2 at the hands of a lower ranked yet more ambitious Israel.

At the end of an uneventful first half in which Romania had no clear chance of scoring, Israel’s Benayoun, who plays for Liverpool, took matters into his own hands and opened the score in stoppage time. After the break Romania fruitlessly dominated the game against a team that played very well tactically. The Romanian players made a lot of mistakes, pointlessly made things harder for them and entirely lacked inspiration in the offence. Marica wasted the team’s only significant chance in the 46th minute. Stuttgart’s striker tried to push the ball in, but his one-metre shot was blocked by fullback Ziv on the goal line. After 84 minutes, Nesu pulled Barda down in the box, with the Israeli striker sealing the game, score 0-2. Israel was close to scoring one more time but goalkeeper Pantilimon parried in the 90th minute.

Romania has lost its fourth consecutive game against Israel, again without scoring. This was the first home-side loss reported by head coach Razvan Lucescu.

After the game, Lucescu tried to justify the result arguing that he had a small number of players at his disposal: “It would have been much easier if we had 50 valuable players with constant caps in strong championships abroad. When the selection pool is so small, five absent players make a big difference. Moreover, Israel’s players are in a constant competition, they had rhythm.” The head coach expects criticism and reproaches, deeming them normal. “All the reproaches, the accusations, all the criticisms are correct. It is frustrating and now we will live with this result for two and a half months.”

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