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Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 06:08 GMT 07:08 UK
Premiership the problem says Hagi
Bento & Hagi
Quarter-finalists: Hagi takes on Portugal's Paulo Bento
Gheorghe Hagi believes that England will struggle to compete at the highest level until the size of the Premiership is reduced.

Romania's midfield magician, who was suspended for his side's 3-2 victory over Kevin Keegan's men, said: "England have some difficulty when they come up against a quality team.

"But they looked very tired and maybe they are paying the price for the number of matches players have to play in England each season."

Chelsea star Dan Petrescu is tipping his international team-mate Cristian Chivu - who shackled David Beckham so effectively in Charleroi - to become a world-beating defender.

The Stamford Bridge midfielder said: "Our plan was to stop David Beckham, and I think we succeeded very well.


"It was difficult to see where England's goals were going to come from in open play and we stopped them from creating many chances.

"I thought Chivu was man of the match and did an excellent job marking Beckham. In two or three years I am sure he will be the best left-back in the world.

"We should have scored three or four goals in the first 25 minutes and then went a bit to sleep, but even when 2-1 down at half-time we thought we would win if we carried on as in the first half.

Dan Petrescu
Petrescu rates Keegan
"England don't like teams like Romania and Portugal who pass the ball around. We kept the ball more often than England and didn't give it away as much as they did."

Petrescu added: "Although I'm pleased for my country, I would have loved for England to get through as well. I know how much football means to their fans and I really feel for them.

"But now they have to be patient and look towards the World Cup - and I think Kevin Keegan is a fantastic manager."

Romania now face Italy in the Euro 2000 quarter-finals.

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See also:

21 Jun 00 | Romania
Romania's yellow peril
20 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Keegan refuses to make excuses
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