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22 June 1998 Group G Toulouse - Stadium Municipal
Romania England
England boss Glenn Hoddle slammed his side for the two pieces of diabolical defending that handed Romania all three points in a 2-1 Group G win in the Stade Municipal, Toulouse. Moldovan had stolen in to open the scoring from a well-worked throw-in just after half-time, before Petrescu wrapped up the victory in the 90th minute after substitute Michael Owen had seemingly rescued an overall disappointing England. The history between these two sides in previous meetings favoured a low scoring draw and with both sides adopting similar 3-5-2 formations, this game was always going to be tight. Romania, looking very assured and composed, were confident on the ball early on, but skipper Gheorghe Hagi received an early yellow card on four minutes for a foul on Paul Ince which slowed down the combative midfielder. Darren Anderton had England's first chance when firing just over the bar from 20 yards and then Paul Scholes hooked a shot goalwards on eight minutes after the Romanian 'keeper Bogdan Stelea had flapped at a cross under pressure from Alan Shearer, but experienced defender Gheorghe Popescu was on hand to clear off his line. Teddy Sheringham then volleyed Anderton's corner narrowly wide of the far post on 15 minutes, but that was to be the end of the goalmouth action in the Romania penalty area as Hagi and co took control. The vastly experienced Romanians, fielding four players who made it to the quarter-finals in America four years ago, had only been beaten in the last two World Cups after penalties, and they played keepball against Glenn Hoddle's men whenever they had possession. The impressive Adrian Ilie, valued at 20 million by his club Valencia, almost opened the scoring after 27 minutes, but his glorious chip, which had Seaman beaten all ends up, bounced to safety off the face of the crossbar. Paul Ince, still limping from the early knock, was replaced by David Beckham to a huge ovation from the 30,000 plus English contingent in a capacity 35,000 crowd. However, he joined his team-mates in struggling to get to grips with the fluent Romanians with Shearer and Sheringham virtual first-half spectators. Just two minutes after the interval the England defence were caught napping when Hagi helped on a throw-in for Viorel Moldovan to escape the clutches of Tony Adams to fire Romania ahead with his 13th goal in 27 appearances for his country. As the game neared the hour mark the Romanians, as they had in their previous game against Colombia, appeared to tire in some departments and England began to make in-roads into their aging defence. An amazing three minutes saw Hoddle's men come close to equalising on four occasions, with a Beckham free-kick, a Scholes shot and header, and Anderton's cross-cum-shot that eluded everyone across the face of goal. Romania still looked dangerous whenever their young star striker Ilie was on the ball, but on 73 minutes the England fans greeted the arrival of their young hero Michael Owen, who replaced the disappointing Sheringham. The substitution appeared to be a master-stroke by Hoddle, who had resisted the temptation to throw on Owen earlier, and the 18-year-old showed razor sharp reactions to fire his side level just ten minutes after coming on. England looked the more likely to score the winning goal in the contest, but the Romanians showed that they should not be underestimated when Petrescu arrived in an uncharacteristic position to squeeze home the winner. The result now means that England must beat Colombia in Lens on Friday if they are to qualify for the second stage, whilst Romania have already booked their place.

(1-0) Moldovan (47). Hagi received a throw-in on the right side of the box and played a lofted pass over the head of Tony Adams towards the striker who took the ball on his chest and evaded the defender's lunge before firing home right-footed high past Seaman's right hand from eight yards.

(1-1) Owen (83). Beckham chipped a pass into Shearer down the right side of the box and the England skipper cut back a low cross which Scholes failed to control, but up popped the 18-year-old supersub who reacted like lightening to rifle home the loose ball right-footed into the roof of the net from six yards.

(2-1) Petrescu (90). Munteanu clipped a pass down the left side of the area into the diagonal run of the right wing-back and despite the attentions of his Chelsea team-mate, Graeme Le Saux, he managed to take the ball on his chest before squeezing a low left-footed shot through the legs of 'keeper David Seaman from the angle of the six-yard box.

 
 
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