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Romania coach gives little away before team's opening match of Euro 2008 against France

Romania coach gives little away before team's opening match of Euro 2008 against France

Romania coach Victor Piturca wasn't giving anything away on the eve of his team's opening European Championship match against France. With the nation winless in 36 years against the French, he can be forgiven for keeping his cards close to his chest.
"I can use two systems," Piturca said. "(But) maybe I will change the system."
Piturca did say that captain Cristian Chivu, who has had a shoulder injury, would play but added that he was undecided on who would fill one or two other positions.
"I can't give you the names," he said.
Piturca acknowledged that Romania was favorite to finish last in Group C, but said, "anything could happen." He denied that he was aiming for a draw against France on Monday.
"The strategy is to win," Piturca said.
Two-time European champion France is the clear favorite Monday 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 : 2021-04-13 09:50 GMT+08:00