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The BBC's Alan Green
"There was no way back for Romania"
 real 28k

Saturday, 24 June, 2000, 20:38 GMT 21:38 UK
Italy cruise through to last four
Filippo Inzaghi
Inzaghi slots Italy's second in the 2-0 triumph
Italy 2-0 Romania
(Brussels, Att: 42,500)

Italy's Euro 2000 campaign rolled into the semi-finals with another classy performance in Brussels.

Inspired by Francesco Totti and with the defence once again rock-solid, the Azzurri withstood a determined Romanian charge to set themselves up for a date with Holland or Yugoslavia next Wednesday.

First-half goals from Totti and Filippo Inzaghi proved to be enough against opponents who, while shorn of several first-team regulars, once again proved a serious threat.


Francesco Totti
Totti cleebrates his strike
Romania's night, miserable enough in defeat, was further spoilt when Gheorghi Hagi was sent off in what became his last international appearance.

Hagi tumbled under the challenge from Gianluca Zambrotta in the box, screamed for a penalty, and received a second yellow for diving instead.

It was a sad end to a great career. Even after being clattered nastily by Demetrio Albertini in the first half, Hagi still had a major influence on the packed midfield.

Indeed before Totti's strike Romania had more of the game.

Beautiful

The first goal, when it came, was a beautiful piece of football made to look simple.

Romania only half-cleared a free-kick, Stefano Fiore teased a lob over the on-rushing defence and there was Totti, first cushioning the ball on his chest, a moment later volleying across Stelea.

The pivotal moment in the tie came just a minute later.


Gheorghi Hagi
Hagi: saw red
Adrian Mutu, excellent throughout, knocked a sensational 60-yard cross-field pass to the feet of Hagi.

With Francesco Toldo committed, the old maestro's lob seemed in all the way - only to bounce agonisingly against the post.

Hagi fell to his knees in disbelief. Italy breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Romania, forced into five changes from the side that beat England, had shaded a cagey first twenty minutes.

Temptation

Italy coach Dino Zoff had resisted the temptation to recall Alessandro Del Piero, and in the early stages, with Inzaghi straying offside and Mutu providing the main attacking threat on the pitch, this looked a serious mistake.

Inzhagi's goal changed all that.

Once again against the run of play, Albertini spied Filipescu hanging way too deep in the right-back slot, playing the striker onside.

Inzhagi made his run, Albertini slid the ball into his path and the Juve striker did the rest.

He ran away in frenzied celebration, much like Marco Tardelli in the 1982 World Cup final.

Inzaghi's delight was understandable. It was his first international goal from open play for over a year.


Teams

Italy: Toldo, Maldini (Pessotto 46), Albertini, Cannavaro, Conte (Di Biagio 55), Inzaghi, Nesta, Iuliano, Zambrotta, Fiore, Totti (Del Piero 75).

Romania: Stelea, Ciobotariu, Filipescu, Galca (Lupescu 68), Mutu, Munteanu, Moldovan (Ganea 54), Hagi, Chivu, Petre, Belodedici.

Referee: M Pereira (Portugal)

Search BBC Euro 2000

 

See also:

24 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Italy v Romania clockwatch
24 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Portugal book semi-final place
24 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Zoff demands more
24 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Italy on the march, says Dublin
24 Jun 00 | Photo Gallery
Italy v Romania in pictures
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