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December 7, 2021

Football: Romania – Italy 1-1, eight minutes short of a miracle

The national teams of Romania and Italy ended with a 1-1 (1-0) tie their friendly encounter in Klagenfurt, Austria, Wednesday evening, after a spectacular game in which Romanians’ playing showed a face quite different from the poor performances over the past year. “The three-coloured” dominated the first half, showing an impressive physical engagement and pressing on Italian defence, with the tactic paying off on 34 minutes, when Marica (photo) scored the opener. Unfortunately for the Romanians, Cristi Chivu got injured only 14 minutes into the game and appears to be unfit to play for two weeks. After recess, Italy’s coach, Prandelli, renounced the formula tested in the first half, introducing three of his top internationals, Pirlo, De Rossi and Gilardino, which tilted the scales towards Italians, who managed to equalize eight minutes from time, when Marica tried to deflect a high ball from the left wing into corner, only to get the ball in the Romanian home instead.

‘Unfortunately, we couldn’t win. I nonetheless hope this to mark a fresh start for the national team and to show the same level of trust henceforth. At 25, I’ve grown ‘old’, yet, the playing and dedication shown by the other players proved they deserve being with the national team. I’m glad I’ve scored and I’m glad about the outcome too,” Pro TV quoted striker Ciprian Marica as saying.

“This was a good match, against a heavyweight of world football. (…) We’ve got less than we deserved, plain and simple. And today we deserved to win, if only for the scoring opportunities we had when counterattacking. This was an unfortunate year for us, the smallest mistake cost us a goal. I hope everything will change for the better and next year everything to work in our favour,” coach Razvan Lucescu said.

For his part, Italian coach Cesare Prandelli declared himself surprised at the combativeness shown by the Romanian team: “We have encountered a very aggressive team in the first half, then, after the break, we had the opportunity to play better”.

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