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Romania trains for last time as it plots way to overturn France in Euro 2008 opener

Romania trains for last time as it plots way to overturn France in Euro 2008 opener

Romania held its last practice session Sunday before it's opening European Championship match, trying to plot a way to beat France for the first time in 36 years.
The team traveled from its Swiss mountain resort base in St. Gallen for a one-hour training session at the Letzigrund Stadium. The team will hold a news conference later Sunday, the last before the two sides play Monday in the first match in the Group C.
Two-time European champion France is the clear favorite after reaching the World Cup final two years ago, but coach Raymond Domenech has been cautious about predicting certain victory.
France holds a comfortable edge in the teams' previous meetings, including a 2-1 win in their most recent match _ a friendly in Paris in February 2002 _ and a 1-0 victory in England in the side's last encounter in the European Championship.
Romania has not beaten the French since 1972, when it won 2-0 in Bucharest, but the team is aiming for at least a draw despite being considered the weakest in a group that also includes World Cup champion Italy and the Netherlands.
Back in an international tournament for the first time since Euro 2000, the Romanians are hungry to do well.
"We'd like to be the surprise of the tournament," Romania striker Adrian Mutu said. "The time has come for us to show our value."
Mutu scored 17 goals for Fiorentina this season, and will be eager to exploit lapses in a French defense which looked wobbly in a friendly against Colombia.
Some of Romania's confidence can be put down to the absence of France captain Patrick Vieira because of a thigh injury, while defenders Willy Sagnol, William Gallas and Lilian Thuram are also carrying problems and have been working hard to be ready to play in Zurich.
Franck Ribery and Thierry Henry are also not 100 percent, while playmaker Samir Nasri is struggling with a cold. Henry, troubled by a sciatic nerve for the past two seasons, trained alone Saturday with fitness trainer Robert Duverne, just as he had done Friday.


Updated : 2021-05-12 09:53 GMT+08:00