After winning 4-1 against Croatia and 4-2 against England, Romania ended in a draw against France, Monday evening: 0-0 which positioned the team coached by Mirel Rădoi first in the group’s standings and qualifies it to the semi-finals of the U-21 European Championship.
The result has also qualified the national youth team to the next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. It will be the first participation of the Romanian footballers at the Olympics, after more than half a century.
“I feel so much joy and happiness, it’s something I did not dare to dream. I am glad that we have qualified to the semi-finals, and we will all enjoy this historic performance 55 years after the Olympic Games when Romania played. I was afraid not to waste the achievements of the first two matches, to be too relaxed, to see ourselves led quickly and to be unable to manage the situation,” coach Mirel Rădoi wrote on Facebook.
“I am very proud, I do not know how many people had hopes in us, but we have managed to do something historic and I am proud of it. It’s a great achievement, it’s a unique feeling to play with a whole country backing you, you cannot fail and I urge Romanians to come to the next match, which it is the most important,” was the message sent by goalkeeper Ionut Radu.
Romanians in Italy went out in the streets of the cities where they live to celebrate the performance of the young footballers.
The next match is scheduled on Thursday. Romania will face Germany in a confrontation for a place in the U-21 European Championship final. The other semi-final is to be played by France and Spain.
France: 23. Paul Bernardoni – 2. Kelvin Amian, 4. Ibrahima Konate, 5. Dayot Upamecano, 15. Malang Sarr – 21. Olivier Ntcham, 6. Lucas Tousart (captain), 10. Matteo Guendouzi, 20. Marcus Thuram (7. Romain Del Castillo, 85th min.) – 11. Jean-Philippe Mateta, 12. Jonathan Ikone (22. Jeff Reine-Adelaide, 85th min.). Coach: Sylvain Ripoll.
Romania: 1. Ionuţ Andrei Radu (captain) – 6. Cristian Manea, 5. Ionuţ Nedelcearu, 18. Adrian Rus, 2. Radu Boboc – 16. Dragoş Nedelcu, 17. Alexandru Cicâldău (21. Tudor Băluţă, 59th min.) – 22. Darius Olaru (14. Vlad Dragomir, 72nd min.), 10. Ianis Hagi, 7. Florinel Coman – 9. George Puşcaş (11. Adrian Petre, 82nd min.). Coach: Matei Mirel Rădoi.
Romanian Football Federation to file complaint to UEFA
The Romanian Football Federation (FRF) warns it could file a complaint to UEFA, as the U-21 European Championship organisers have changed the starting time of the match against Germany.
Until Romania qualified, the starting time was 22.00h (Bucharest time) and the other semi-final (Spain vs. France) at 19.00h. After the qualification, the organisers swapped the matches, so Romania will play against Germany at 19.00h.
Romanian officials are very upset, due of the weather conditions.
“This is a crime. I don’t believe we will play at 19.00h. We will file a complaint to UEFA. In Italy is a heat wave now,” FRF technical Director Mihai Stoichita said for Digi Sport TV private broadcaster.
The weather forecast reads that in Bologna will be very hot on Thursday, temperatures will reach 39 degrees Celsius. At 19.00h, the temperature will be probably about 36 degrees C.