Germany, Romania Draw in Euro 2000 Opener
Romania and defending champions Germany drew 1-1 in Liege, Belgium on Monday to leave both teams with everything still to play for in their tough Euro 2000 Group A, which also includes England and Portugal.
Mehmet Scholl's 28th-minute equalizer had cancelled out a fifth-minute strike from Romania's Viorel Moldovan in a frenetic first half but the second half was a more mundane affair although Moldovan did spurn a glorious chance to win it for Romania.
Until Scholl's equalizer, the defending champions had been on the wrong end of a Gheorghe Hagi masterclass with Romania's veteran playmaker leading the Germans a merry dance in the opening period.
Germany's veteran libero Lothar Matthaus admitted the defending champions had got off lightly.
"Romania had a lot of good players and put in a great performance," he said.
"In the second half, Romania's three-man attack meant if any of our three central defenders went forward, someone else had to come back and cover and that made it hard.
"When we lost the ball in midfield, we had trouble getting it back."
German coach Erich Ribbeck believed the result was fair, however. "Both teams had good chances and I think 1-1 was a fair reflection on the game. What we did well was at 1-0 down we managed to control the game and we put them under a lot of pressure.
"On the other hand, we had many players who did not play very well and we must examine the mistakes we made so that we do not make them again in the next game."
Romanian coach Emerich Jenei said his side should have won. "Moldovan missed a sitter and the referee should have awarded us a penalty. But Germany are an amazing team that fights to the end."
Hagi said he was happy with to start the finals with a draw. "But it was a poor match even though the goals were spectacular" - (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)