Iordanescu challenges Romania to make 'history' at Euro 2024

AFP , Friday 21 Jun 2024

Romania boss Edward Iordanescu urged his team to make "history" at Euro 2024 as they bid to seal a place in the last 16 with a victory over Belgium.

Edward Iordanescu
Romania manager Edward Iordanescu. AFP


Iordanescu's side will be guaranteed to reach the knockout stage if they follow their impressive win against Ukraine with an even more surprising success when they meet star-studded Belgium in Cologne on Saturday.

Romania powered to a 3-0 win against Ukraine in their Group E opener on Monday, while the Belgians slumped to a shock 1-0 loss at the hands of Slovakia.

Inspired by their first win in a major tournament since beating England at Euro 2000, the Romanians have their sights set on making the competition's knockout stage for the first time in 24 years.

"It would mean history. It would be a fantastic example for what football and sport means in Romania," Iordanescu said on Friday.

"After the first game, the whole country was behind our team. It really helped our people. I can feel happiness and hope for all Romanians. That motivates us even more."

Belgium wasted a host of chances to score against Slovakia and were denied a late Romelu Lukaku equaliser by a controversial VAR decision.

Iordanescu knows Kevin De Bruyne and company will be desperate to make amends against Romania as the talented underachievers fight to avoid another flop at a major tournament.

"Obviously the opponent is amazing. But we are going into the game trying to win it. Why not get the points that would mean qualification?" he said.

"We have to keep the context in mind. They are number three in the world, with great players, and they really need to get a result.

"That is a really difficult challenge for us. We are waiting for it. This is the Euros, the best players and coaches. These are incredible experiences.

"We have to elevate to another level. We have to be very exact and very efficient."

Ukraine's 2-1 win against Slovakia on Friday raised the prospect of all four teams having three points heading into the final round of matches if Belgium beat Romania.

Iordanescu acknowledged a draw would be a good result against Belgium as he insisted his players would not lose focus after their memorable start to the tournament.

"The qualification is the most important thing for us. If a point would be enough, then we would take it," he said.

"Of course we had euphoria on the pitch (after the Ukraine game). That needed to be enjoyed, then we relaxed and started preparing for tomorrow's game. It is a new challenge."

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