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Monday, 19 June, 2000, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Replacing the irreplacable
Romania go into their make-or-break game with England on Tuesday without their most influential player - suspended midfielder Gheorghe Hagi.
Hagi's suspect temperament was always liable to pose problems during Romania's opening three qualifying games in Group A.
And true to form, he promptly received his second yellow card against Portugal for dissent.
Hagi's absence will have already heightened England's optimism after the Germany victory, as Romania's chief playmaker will be watching from the sidelines.
Pessimists will cite the presence of Romania's other potential match-winners such as Adrian Ilie and Viorel Moldovan, who could still take the game away from England.
But according to Romanian journalist Costin Fubcan, a heir to Hagi's crown will be difficult to find.
He said: "The biggest problem in Romanian football is who will replace Gheorghe Hagi.
"Adrian Ilie played in Hagi's position against the Republic of Ireland in a World Cup qualifier in 1998 in Burcharest and scored the only goal of the game from that position."
But if he does move into midfield, Romania may be less potent in attack, giving the England defence one less headache with which to contend.
Despite the squad boasting several promising young players, Fubcan believes that none of the current crop can fill Hagi's role in midfield.
Players such as Adrian Mutu, Ian Ganea, Erik Lincar and Florentine Petre look to have promising futures for their country, but none are likely to be the new Hagi.
Romania will still have experienced players such as Gheorghe Popescu, Dan Petrescu and Iulian Filipescu present - all of whom were present when Romania beat England in Toulouse, with Petrescu scoring the dramatic winner in the 90th minute.
But without the influential Hagi, who believes he was deliberately booked against Portugal, Romania may struggle with a resurgent England side, buoyant after their first victory over Germany in 34 years.
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