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15 June 1998 Group G Lyon - Stade de Gerland
Romania Colombia
A superbly chipped goal by Adrian Ilie decided the outcome of an entertaining encounter as Romania won their Group G meeting with Colombia 1-0 in the Stade De Gerland, Lyon. The match brought together two of the most experienced and talented campaigners in world football as the 37-year-old Carlos Valderrama led his South American side against 33-year-old Gheorghe Hagi's Eastern European outfit. Between the pair of them the two captains have accumulated 223 caps for their countries and France 98 is likely to mark their farewell appearances in the World Cup finals. The Romanians started the match by far the stronger of two techically good sides with Ilie proving a handful whenever he had the ball, showing the form that brought him 12 goals in 18 games for Valencia since his move from Galatasaray last season. When Valderrama had the ball the Colombians always looked capable of unlocking the experienced Romanian defence, but Filipescu superbly dealt with the threat of Asprilla and Freddy Rincon was restricted to just one long-range effort in the first half. The South American's were grateful to their 'keeper Farid Mondragon for keeping them in the game with a magnificent double strike from Ilie and Moldovan after 15 minutes followed by further saves from Hagi and Ilie again. However, he could do little about the Romanian goal right on the stroke of half-time as Ilie produced a quality finish that ultimately proved to be the match-winner. After the interval the game settled into the typical pattern of one team ahead sitting on their lead with the other coming more and more into the match. The introduction of Valencia for Aristizabal at the start of the second half meant that Colombia looked more potent as an attacking force and Rincon's scorching 61st-minute shot shaved the post, while Lozano glanced a header just wide. Valencia himself then went close on three occasions and has surely booked his place in the starting line-up for the next match against Tunisia. In the end the group seeds Romania just about deserved the three points but have to settle for second place in the table behind England who are their next opponents on Monday 22 June in the Stade Municipal, Toulouse.

(1-0) Ilie (45). He wriggled clear into the left side of the box past two desperate defensive challenges and as Mondragon came off his line to narrow the angle the Romanian striker stabbed a glorious right-footed chip over the 'keeper and into the far corner of the net from 12 yards.

 
 
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Page created by Christakis Ioannou on Tuesday, 16 June 1998
 
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