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26 June 1998 Group G Saint-Denis - Stade de France
Romania Tunisia
Romania secured the point they required to top Group G against Tunisia in the Stade de france. After a dismal first 45 minutes the introduction of Adrian Ilie added the midfield creativity and sparkle that the eastern Europeans had been lacking. Both sides had opportunities during the open exchanges and it was the northern Africans who made the most of it when Dulca held back Sellimi to concede a penalty in the tenth minute. Skandar Souayah made no mistake from the spot, ensuring that all 32 finalists scored at least one goal during the first stage. The early lead spurred the Tunisians on and they were a side growing in confidence as the half progressed. The Romanians, all 22 of whom had dyed their hair blonde, seemed disinterested with the game. Hagi was confined to shooting from 20, 30 and 40 yards but never troubling Tunisian 'keeper Chokri el-Ouaer. Anghel Iordanescu, the Romanian coach was obviously displeased with his side and he showed this by replacing Dulka with Gheorghe 'Gica' Popescu just after the half hour. Still it made little difference and the Tunisians should have made much more of the opportunities which fell there way. Come the interval there was only one side really in the contest and that was Tunisia, it was they who looked more likely to score. Iordanescu made a further substitution for the second period, introducing matchwinner Adrian Ilie for a poor Marius Lacatus. Initially this had little bearing as the Tunisians attempted to take up where they had left off before the break, but when in the 55th minute one of the strikers, Mehdi Ben Slimane had to be replaced, the tide was beginning to turn. When the Romanians introduced Viorel Moldovan, the writing was on the wall, the 'blonde' squad were getting to grips with the Tunisian midfield and defence as the Africans began to tire. They were caught out in the 72nd minute when Hagi took a quick free-kick, before the defence had time to re-adjust, Ilie had collected the ball, got to the byline, enticed the 'keeper out and then crossed for Moldovan to volley home. It was a harsh reminder to the Tunisians and although they did not deserve to lose, Romania were now the more likely side to score. Each time Tunisia managed to get out of their own half, striker Sellimi was left to run the gauntlet himself, easy pickings for the Romanian defence. They managed to hold out, however, partly thanks to captain and 'keeper el-Ouaer who acted as an additional defender as well as pulling off some fine saves towards the death. The result means that Romania will take on the runners-up in Group H, Croatia, on Tuesday afternoon in Bordeaux. A fixture which for most of this game looked as if would be England's way - but in football, experience and guile often win out for the undeserving and that was certainly the case in St Denis tonight.

(1-1) Moldovan (72). Ilie received a quick free-kick from Hagi and made his way to the byline before pulling the ball back over the 'keeper, Chouchane flicked the ball to Moldovan as he tried to clear his lines, the Romanian substitute volleyed the ball into the bottom corner, right-footed from seven yards.

(0-1) Souayah (10, pen). Adel Sellimi turned between two defenders in the box only to be upended by Cristian Dulca, Skandar Souayah took responsibilty and sent his right foot spot-kick to the low 'keepers' left for his first international goal.

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