Romania's Under-21 national team has had a brilliant start in the European Championship, underway in Italy and San Marino these days. The National Under-23 team grabbed a 4-1 win against Croatia, in a match venued by the Serravalle stadium in San Marino.
The over 3,000-strong batch of Romanian supporters literally dominated the stands. The cheering Romanian crowd gave the Romanian lineup a boost from the very beginning, and the Romanian international footballer, Palermo's striker George Puscas wasted a great opportunity to score on 2 minutes. In minute 11, Puscas drew first blood, successfully turning into goal the penalty kick granted the referee granted having examined a video footage. Ianis Hagi scored the second goal for Romania on 14 minutes. In minute 18, Croatia managed to score their only goal. The Romanians were mature enough to fight back, retaining their advanced positions on the pitch. Croatia pusher a little bit harder in the attacking bouts, but the Romanians turned out to be more incisive. The Romanian national team had yet another string of scoring opportunities, so much so that on 63 minutes Tudor Baluta, currently playing for Viitorul Constanta, scored the 3rd-goal for Romania. The fate of the match was sealed in added time, when Adrian Petre, currently playing for Danish side Esbjerg, scored the 4th goal, again validated after a close examination of the video footage.
Here is what the captain of the Under-21 national team, Genoa's keeper Ionut Radu stated in a message posted on the Romanian Football federation's website.
SOUNDBITE V.M.: "It is something extraordinary, for us to have such a kick-start. First off, we should thank fans for creating an atmosphere we didn't expect to be created. I never expected a stadium, at a European championship, to be dominated by Romanians. And that's what charged our batteries, from the kick start to the end of the game. And the result was the outcome of that."
In Group C, Romania's next scheduled fixture is the match against England, on Friday, June 21st. We recall this past Tuesday, England sustained a 1-2 defeat in the game against France. Qualifying for the semifinals are the top of the table teams in each of the three groups, as well as the best of the second-placed teams. The first four teams in descending order book their ticket for the 2020 edition of the Olympic Games.
The drawing of lots was held this past Tuesday for the European Cups' first preliminary round. In the Champions League, CFR Cluj faces Astana of Kazakhstan, a team including the international Romanian footballer Dorin Rotariu. The first leg will be played in Kazakhstan, on July 9 or 10, while the second leg will be played in Cluj Napoca on July 16 or 17. In Europa League, FCSB go against Milsami Orhei of the Republic of Moldova, with the first leg played on July 11 at home, while a week later the return match will be played away from home. Also in Europa League's first preliminary round, Universitatea Craiova play Azeri squad Sabail. The first leg is scheduled on July 11 in Azerbaijan, while the second leg will be played in Craiova on July 18.