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Romania goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont wants to bring thousands on the streets

Romania goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont wants to bring thousands on the streets

Romania goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont is just as focused on what his performances can do for fans as he is concerned about what they mean to the team.
Romania opens against France on Monday before playing Italy and the Netherlands in the tournament's toughest group. Lobont knows that if he can stop the opposition scoring for three straight games, Romania is almost certain to make it into the next round and get supporters back home partying like they've not for years.
"We are in the toughest group Romania has ever been in, in a final," Lobont wrote on his personal Web site. "From the bottom of my heart, I'd love to get Romanians back onto the street, to be praised for everyone for our performance."
Although the current team is popular after advancing to the tournament from a qualifying group that also contained the Netherlands and Bulgaria, many recall what seems like a golden age when Romania, led by playmaker Gheorghe Hagi, made it to the quarterfinals of the 1994 World Cup.
After each victory at the competition, thousands would surge downtown in cities around the country, honking horns and chanting players' names.
Romania only lost its quarterfinal on penalties to Sweden, but its participation in Euro 2008 marks a return to international tournaments for the first time since Euro 2000 _ when Lobont was a reserve.
Lobont, who has played briefly for Ajax and Fiorentina, is Romania's top goalkeeper and is currently at Dinamo Bucharest. The 30-year-old Transylvanian is a favorite among fans and federation staff thanks to his almost gymnastic saves.
He's nicknamed "the cat" by the media for his agility, grace and quick reactions. In Romania's last match, a friendly against Montenegro, he saved a penalty in the first minute from AS Roma's Mirko Vukinic and his team went on to win 4-0.
The match against France will be Lobont's 64th international.
This time, Romania has Marius Popa and Eduard Stancoiu as reserve goalkeepers.
Coach Victor Piturca has concentrated on the defense and midfield, with only four forwards in the squad. Piturca who has twice led Romania to the European Championship is especially cautious about the match against France in Zurich, where he would be happy with a draw.


Updated : 2021-03-08 00:30 GMT+08:00