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EC Qualification

  • September 6, 2011
  • • 19:30
  • • Arena Naţională, Bucureşti
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 49137

Live Commentary

  • That's it from me this evening. Thank you for joining's LIVE coverage once again. Stay around for action and reaction from this game, and further analysis, reports and ratings from Euro 2012 qualifying and beyond. I'm Mohammed Ali, and you can continue to send your messages in and follow @mohammedali_93. Till next time, good night!
  • The good news for France fans is that they can clinch qualification to UEFA Euro 2012 with a home win against Albania on October 7. Romania tackle already-relegated Belarus then, and will be eliminated if Luxembourg don't beat Bosnia-Herzegovina. Something short of a miracle then.
  • The good news for France fans is that they can clinch qualification to UEFA Euro 2012 with a home win against Albania on October 7. Romania tackle already-relegated Belarus then, and will be eliminated if Luxembourg don't beat Bosnia-Herzegovina. Something short of a miracle then.
  • Well, once you look at it from a French perspective, it is a point gained rather than a point lost. On the back-foot for most of the first half, they came alive in the second but couldn't penetrate a sturdy Romanian defence. For Romania, they should be downbeat as they had the chances to put away in a tense encounter. The attempts from Nicolita and Niculae in the first half really should've given them the edge.
  • 90' + 3'
    Howard Webb calls for full-time in Bucharest. It's finished Romania 0-0 France.
  • 90' + 3'
    The three minutes are up. Razvan Rat succesfully claims the ball against Sagna who impressively jumps the advertising boards.
  • 90' + 2'
    Still a surprising lack of urgency from Victor Putrica's men. The fans are going absolutely nuts in the stands. Adil Rami wastes more time by hoofing the ball 60 yards up field as it trickles for a goal-kick.
  • 90'
    SubstitutionCiprian Marica G. Bucur
  • 90'
    Three minutes added on at the end of this match. Gigel Bucur is replacing Ciprian Marica. Romania going all out!
  • 89'
    PENALTY TO FRANCE? NO! Howard Webb waves play on. Sagna on the right flank advances, and lays off Ribery who is felled by Bourceanu. Replays show the award might've been harsh as the Steaua man attempted to get the ball.
  • 88'
    Karim Benzema has trouble evading the challenge of Srgian Luchin. But the Real Madrid man takes on one too many and loses the ball. Seconds later, the hosts counter, and Marica is through, but is diverted wide by Abidal and lays off Cocis. Cocis crosses the ball, but Lloris is more than equal to it.
  • 86'
    Loic Remy has an effort which goes way wide. Romania on the other hand, are lacking urgency. With Bosnia-Herzegovina's win, they would have to heavily rely on results elsewhere to get a play-off spot. In essence, they would need Luxembourg to beat Bosnia which really is unlikely.
  • 84'
    Yellow Card Bănel Nicoliţă
  • 84'
    Banel Nicolita is booked and will join Goian in the stands for the next game as he will be suspended.
  • 81'
    Back in Bucharest, it is still 0-0. Very difficult to see where the goal will come from. Both sides slowing up play and taking the pragmatic approach.
  • 78'
    I can tell you that Bosnia Herzegovina 1-0 Belarus is a final score. Romania must win this one, or will have to hope they win their final two games, and hope the Bosnians don't get another point in theirs. France are assured of a play-off place at least. Belarus are out of qualifying.
  • 77'
    STANCU! Close from the substitute. A lovely ball from the right flank is whipped in low, but he cannot beat his marker as they both go for the ball. Goal-kick.
  • 77'
    Luxembourg have beaten Albania 2-1 in the other game, but that won't mean much as Luc Holtz's men will finish bottom.
  • 77'
    Goals to tell you about in Group D which impacts this match. Bosnia have grabbed a 1-0 lead over Belarus in the 87th minute with Misimovic scoring. That would knock out both the Belarusians (who are unbeaten v France and inflicted their only defeat) and the Romanians.
  • 76'
    Superb support by the Romanians this evening. The fans are still in full voice at the new National Arena, which hasn't seen a spectacle in its first ever match thus far. Still an electric atmosphere, shame we can't say the same about the pitch or the players on it.
  • 75'
    SubstitutionYohan Cabaye Samir Nasri
  • 75'
    Yohan Cabaye is replaced by Samir Nasri of Manchester City.
  • 73'
    Poor shot from Nicolita after a good period of Romanian play.
  • 71'
    SubstitutionMathieu Valbuena Loïc Remy
  • 71'
    A substitution by Laurent Blanc. It's a Marseille switch, with Mathieu Valbuena making way for fellow Olympian Loic Remy. Good change since Remy's in an irrepressible goalscoring form at the moment. He also notched France's goal in their 1-1 draw with Chile last month,
  • 69'
    Yellow Card Dorin Goian
  • 69'
    Rangers' Dorin Goian is booked and will miss Romania's next match.
  • 69'
    And the Romanians responded with a wasted gilt-edged chance of their own! Beautiful ball launched from deep in midfield and it catches out Abidal. The Romanian winger on the left cuts back in, but Marica cannot get his feet on the ball and it is eventually cleared!
  • 67'
    RIBERY!! Close from the Bayern winger. Connects well with Sagna and uses his trickery to bamboozle Bourceanu and the defence to move into space. His shot is low, but goes across the goalmouth. Almost an opener there.
  • 65'
    Daniel Niculae launches a header at the French goal. Unsuccessful
  • 63'
    CABAYE! Ouch, the Romanians were caught almost fatally in posession. Bourceanu didn't know where to place the ball and the Newcastle man grabbed his chance. The shot on goal was very wayward though. Wasteful.
  • 59'
    The French are in the ascendancy now. Rami surges through the midfield and pings the ball to Sagna. The Arsenal man's cross is long, but the ball bounces favourably in the area as Benzema fails to latch onto it. Tatusuranu dives to smother the ball.
  • 54'
    Yellow Card Răzvan Cociş
  • 54'
    Razvan Cocis is the third player to be booked by Howard Webb.
  • 51'
    Early signs in the second half that Laurent Blanc's side have responded to Romania. They must keep this up if they want to grab the game-changing opening goal.
  • 49'
    Mathieu Valbuena is fed the ball from midfield, but the Marseille man goes a fraction early and is pulled back for offside. Moments before, a Romanian corner taken by Niculae was wasted and cleared.
  • 47'
    France already grab a freekick which Martin takes and eventually leades to a failed Rami attempt. From a corner, Martin's delivery is poor and dealt with by the Romanian rearguard.
  • 46'
    Romania get us underway for the second 45 minutes.
  • Looking back on first-half replays. Romania have definitely threatened from set-pieces. Twice Nicolita has forced Lloris into a fine save. A touch on by Goian would've definitely diverted the ball into the net. For the visitors, Mathieu Valbuena really should've done better with his looped header.
  • Elsewhere in Group D - Luxembourg lead Albania 1-0 in what is probably a shock result. The hosts, though will finish bottom of the group, Belarus and Bosnia-Herzegovina are locked at 0-0. A win for France can put them five points ahead, needing only a point in their next game to secure qualification to UEFA Euro 2012.
  • Thoughts on the opening 45 minutes? What did you think of France's first half? Could they win this match, or can Romania continue their impressive first half? Send me your messages on Twitter and follow @mohammedali_93 and I'll put them up!
  • So that's that at the interval. France have been second-best in this Group D encounter. Benzema had probably their best chance as he headed wide. For Romania, it's more about the missed opportunities. Nicolita in particular, along with Niculae have been a thorn in the French defence, but at times have left Marica looking isolated up front .
  • 45' + 3'
    Howard Webb brings the first half to a close. It's Romania 0-0 France from the National Arena in Bucharest.
  • 45' + 2'
    Evra is back on his feet. Meanwhile, Nicolita chases down a ball in which Rami succeeds in getting to first.
  • 45' + 1'
    Patrice Evra is down. The Man Utd left-back is being treated by the medics.
  • 45'
    Three minutes signalled by the fourth official.
  • 44'
    A minute to go before half-time. Romania started the match fantastically, but couldn't find a game-setting opener. They've lost that attacking edge as the match wears on, and the French have begun to find their feet.
  • 43'
    SubstitutionCostin Lazar Bogdan Stancu
  • 43'
    Substitution forced on Romania. Constin Lazar has been withdrawn for Bogdan Stancu of Orduspor. Freekick to the Tricolorii meanwhile...
  • 42'
    Wasted chance from Rami. Instead of passing the ball and taking his options, the Valencia man shoots from 50 yards. Needless to say, Tatusuranu had that covered.
  • 41'
    The corner, taken by Cabaye, is wasted and headed behind for a throw-in.
  • 40'
    The visitors are now in the ascendancy. Fantastic bit of play between Cabaye, Martin and Benzema onto Sagna on the flank. It is cleared behind for a corner.
  • 36'
    France are upping their tempo now. Martin's corner goes straight to Tatusuranu. Sagna advances on the right flank but is cut out by Bourceanu.
  • 34'
    Another rare chance for the visitors, and it's Benzema who has a header off target. Still 0-0 in Bucharest.
  • 32'
    France are again on the backfoot. Just knocking it around gently around the park, but get dispossessed easily. Need to be more adventurous, and daring.
  • 29'
    Fantastic save by Lloris. Another testing freekick from the hosts. It should've been a goal!
  • 28'
    That was quite a rough tackle by M'Vila on Costin Lazar. The English ref had no hesitation.
  • 27'
    Yellow Card Yann M'Vila
  • 27'
    Goian is back on the pitch, and play has resumed. Yann M'Vila picks up a yellow card from Howard Webb.
  • 25'
    Dorin Goian of Rangers is down on the ground after a rough tackle. Play has been stopped briefly.
  • 23'
    Again Les Bleus deploy the slow tactics to take the sting out of the hosts' offensive. The back four and M'Vila are patient with the ball, just knocking it about and searching for a simple opening.
  • 23'
    What do you make of the early openings? Is the decision to make five changes a justified one for Blanc? Or do you think Romania are well-placed to grab the game's opener? Send your messages via Twitter to @mohammedali_93 and I'll put them up!
  • 21'
    A lofted ball from midfield searches out Ciprian Marica who races past Rami. The ball safely trickles to Lloris in the French goal.
  • 20'
    Les Bleus opting to play it slow and stifle the Romanian attack. M'Vila, Evra and Rami are knocking the ball gently to each other and reduce the intensity of the game.
  • 17'
    Daniel Niculae runs marginally offside. The tension hasn't died down at all, with the fans making as much noise as possible. A brilliantly-executed Mexican wave is added too. Lovely.
  • 15'
    Yellow Card Cristian Tanase
  • 15'
    Cristian Tanase is handed the game's first yellow card. And also the first yellow card dished out at the National Arena. There's one for the history books!
  • 15'
    Laurent Blanc does not look happy on the touchline. Meanwhile, Les Bleus surge forward in search of an opening with Benzema and Ribery combining. Benzema cannot evade his marker, and is eventually kicked down. Howard Webb gives Romania the free-kick!
  • 13'
    And Romania are on the offensive again, with France not holding down their markers properly. Daniel Niculae evades his challenger on the wing, but his cross-cum-shot is saved by Lloris. The 28 year old, who plays for AS Nancy in Ligue 1 should've done better
  • 11'
    End to end stuff! Romania surge forward with Bourceanu, and they have definitely been controlling the midfield so far. The lofted ball goes nowhere and into the hands of Lloris, and the French get the ball to Ribery on the wing who is eventually hounded down by Romeo Surdu.
  • 9'
    And now the French have a free-kick. Bit of a reprieve, after a tough opening few minutes. Freekick from Martin on the right flank is crossed in to Valbuena who lifts his header way over the bar. First chance of any sort for Laurent Blanc's men.
  • 7'
    Another freekick heads Victor Pitruca's men's way, and it's Rangers' Dorin Goian who has a shot blocked. All the hosts so far!
  • 5'
    The resulting corner from Nicolita goes nowhere, and is dealt with swiftly. Very tense opening here in Bucharest and the home fans are making it very hostile.
  • 5'
    NICOLITA!! Very close from the Romanians! Superb freekick from 25 yards out and it bobs behind the defence and in front of Lloris who has to make an awkward, yet fine save! Signal of intent from Romania.
  • 3'
    Captain Raţ gives away a free-kick for a challenge on Valbuena. Equal opening.
  • 1'
    The French are looking good so far, a lofted ball to Mathieu Valbuena is a tad long, and the Marseille man can't keep up with it as it goes for a goalkick.
  • 1'
    Here we go! France get us underway kicking from left to right. Romania in their famous yellow, France in blue.
  • Oh, that was a bit premature. First, we have tonight's captains - Razvan Rat and Hugo Lloris read out a fair play message to the crowd. Doubt they'll be listening.
  • Anthems over, meeting with dignitaries over. Let's get on with some football!
  • Quite an elaborate opening ceremony underway in Bucharest. Referee tonight is Howard Webb. The Englishman took the whistle in last year's Champions League and World Cup finals.
  • The Tricolorii fans are in full voice at the National Arena, with the stands bathed in the yellow, red and blue coloured flags. Pitch looks immaculate too. Kickoff in under ten minutes.
  • Fantastic setting in Bucharest with the new Stadionul National inaugurated with this very match. The new arena will also host the 2012 UEFA Europa League Final. Let's have a top match to christen it!
  • What do you make out of that lot, folks? Laurent Blanc has axed Florent Malouda, Samir Nasri, Alou Diarra and Younes Kaboul in favour of Marvin Martin, Adil Rami (back from suspension), Mathieu Valbuena and Yohan Cabaye. Interesting. Tweet me your thoughts on that to @mohammedali_93.
  • FRANCE: Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Abidal, Evra; Cabaye, M’Vila, Martin; Valbuena, Benzema, Ribery Subs: Mandanda, Koscielny, Nasri, Reveillere, Malouda, Diarra, Remy
  • TEAM NEWS: Romania: Tatarusanu; Goian, Rat, Chiriches, Sapunaru; Nicolita, Bourceanu, Lazar, Cocis, Tanase; Marica Subs: Pantilimon, M. Niculae, Latovlevici, Luchin, Stancu, Bucue, Moti
  • Romania and France both faced each other at UEFA Euro 2008 with the Tricolorii denying the former European Champions and eventually holding them to a 0-0 stalemate en route to a premature elimination. The two sides also faced each other in World Cup 2010 qualifying with two further draws. Goals from Yoann Gourcuff and Loic Remy bucked the trend to enable Laurent Blanc's men to snatch a 2-0 victory at home earlier in Group D.
  • Romania and France both faced each other at UEFA Euro 2008 with the Tricolorii denying the former European Champions and eventually holding them to a 0-0 stalemate en route to a premature elimination. The two sides also faced each other in World Cup 2010 qualifying with two further draws. Goals from Yoann Gourcuff and Loic Remy bucked the trend to enable Laurent Blanc's men to snatch a 2-0 victory at home earlier in Group D.
  • Now, you should all know the drill for this live text commentary. As much yours as it is mine. Send me your messages, comments, thoughts, predictions, opinions, musings and more via Twitter to @mohammedali_93 and I will put them up.
  • France, as some of you will remember, beat Albania 2-1 on Friday night to top Group D, three points ahead of nearest challengers Bosnia-Herzegovina. Goals from Karim Benzema and Yann M'Vila sealed the win, but they endured testing times in Tirana as Erjon Bogdani's 46th minute intervention made for a tense finish. Romania beat Luxembourg 2-0 on the same day, with both goals coming from Udinese's Gabriel Torje, who is suspended for tonight's game.
  • Good evening and welcome to's LIVE text commentary of the Euro 2012 qualifier between Romania and France from Bucharest. As ever, I'm Mohammed Ali, and I'll be taking you through live updates of this Group D encounter. Confirmed team lineups up shortly.