Romania content not to concede more ahead of four-way group showdown

COLOGNE: Romania created plenty of chances against Belgium in their Euro 2024 game on Saturday, but despite going down to a 2-0 defeat, manager Edward Iordanescu is happy they avoided a bigger defeat which could prove crucial in an extremely tight group.

All four teams in Group E have three points, the first time a group at the Euros has all sides level on points going into the final game, and Romania are currently top due to their superior goals scored, ahead of Belgium, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Belgium did have the majority of possession, and higher number of shots, with nine on target from a total of 20, but Romania did manage five on target out of their 14 shots overall.

“We did have our chances, but at this level you have to score if you want to get a result,” Iordanescu told reporters.

“We conceded two goals. The first one was a bit unlucky and at half-time I told the lads we have to be calmer. The box-to-box tempo wasn’t helpful to our cause and we didn’t quite manage to play how we wanted.

“Every player that came off the bench today was an attacking player but it was not enough. We had to try and not concede too many but this team were undefeated for quite a while.”

In such a tight group, and with only one round of games remaining, goal difference could very well play an important role in deciding who advances and who exits the tournament.

“It’s a most complicated group, we had to try not to concede too many because we had considered a third goal. This would have been really bad for us,” the manager said.

“So that was the first moment where we tried to keep in mind about the result.”

Romania had won their opening game with Ukraine 3-0 while Belgium slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat to Slovakia, but Iordanescu still believes the Belgians are in contention in this tournament.

“You saw a team with lots of quality, not only quality, speed, explosiveness, power, it’s a complete team. Don’t be fooled by their first game.

“There’s a reason they’re third in the world and are a candidate to win the trophy.”

Romania will play Slovakia next, with Belgium facing Ukraine, and the manager believes his side can do what it takes to remain at Euro 2024.

“We always try to be better, and in the third game as well. I have full trust in my team, and my team has everything that it needs to play a good game and to write history for Romania,” he said.

“We are a bit stressed but we’re still in there. We have a day less to prepare than Slovakia so we will have to try to relax and recover and then we’ll try to qualify. We will do what we can to react and then we will see.” — Reuters

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