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April 17, 2021

Futsal Euro: Romania overcome hosts Belgium

Quarter-finalists two years ago, national men futsal team of Romania have one foot in the knockout stage courtesy of an opening-night 6-1 victory against UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 hosts Belgium, uefa.com reports. Romania were beaten by the home team in their first match at Croatia 2012, but history seldom seemed likely to repeat itself in Antwerp. Florin Matei scored one and set up two more as Nelu Stancea’s men started with an emphatic Group A win, sealed by Saad Salhi’s own goal.
Having given a rousing rendition of the national anthem, the Belgium fans raised the decibel level a notch further when Omar Rahou volleyed wide Valentin Dujacquier’s near pitch-length pass early on. That stirred Romania, though, and after Cosmin Gherman flashed a shot off target, forward Emil Raducu, tight on the touchline, skipped past his marker and slipped the ball beyond David Morant.
Emil Raducu told uefa.com after the game: “It was a difficult game, but it is very good for us that we won. It is very important to do that in the first game, especially against the hosts. The first game is always the hardest. (…) The atmosphere was very good. We had some supporters, but the hosts had a lot. That made it a little bit harder, but it was good that we won. It is so important to score the first goal. Even in a EURO the first goal is very important. After we scored the second one, it was a case of the more the better”.
Nelu Stancea, Romania coach said: “I have to congratulate my players, but not only them – the spectators too. The atmosphere was excellent and it made for a difficult game, but I think we got it right tactically. I would like to thank the spectators and especially our fans – 200 of them who came specially from Romania”.
Alain Dopchie, Belgium coach said: “Looking at the first half, my team played well – very well – but two important incidents led to two goals, and that was the difference between us and them. We started the second half really well, but they made it 3-0. We made it 3-1 and it might have been 3-2 – I didn’t see the foul [for a disallowed goal]. Maybe that would’ve changed the complexion of the game if it had been allowed. But ten minutes in futsal is a very long time and we tried to play with a flying keeper and it’s always the same. If you look at their goalkeeper, he got the ball and put it in the goal [to make it 5-1] and for me that’s the difference between Belgium and [Romania]. It was very difficult for us to score – Romania were very organised. I think the crowd left the hall with the same feeling as me: that 6-1 was harsh and it did not reflect the game. I was confident [when we pulled a goal back]. If we could have made it 3-2, it would have been a boost, but the boost never came and that’s the reason why we lost our momentum”.

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