Romania coach warns of tough task to rouse dejected players
By Matt Smith
PARIS (Reuters) - Romania coach Anghel Iordanescu warned that it would be difficult for his exhausted players to recover from a late defeat by France in the opening match of Euro 2016 on Friday.
Iordanescu was nonetheless delighted by his side's efforts, the unfancied Eastern Europeans frustrating the tournament favourites and hosts while also creating some decent chances themselves in a 2-1 loss in Group A at the Stade de France.
“It will be very difficult to re-establish the players’ physical form and their fitness because they’re absolutely exhausted,” Iordanescu, 66, told reporters.
“They also need to consider the psychological aspect, which is very important in this sort of tournament.”
Bogdan Stancu’s 65th minute penalty had cancelled out Olivier Giroud’s headed opener eight minutes earlier, but Dimitri Payet’s stunning 89th minute long-range curler into the top corner gave a stuttering France team the victory.
Didier Deschamps' men had struggled in the opening exchanges as if groggy from the frenzied atmosphere generated by the home fans prior to kickoff.
Stancu should have put Romania ahead after three minutes, his side-foot effort from inside the six-yard box blocked by France keeper Hugo Lloris.
“Had we scored that would have changed the whole match,” said Iordanescu, who is in his third stint as Romania coach having guided them through the qualifiers unbeaten with the competition's best defensive record.
“I would like to congratulate my players for having implemented all of the tactical instructions I give them.
"I thank them for the quality of their play as well as having provided a good result despite the fact we ultimately lost the game,” he added.
Romania, seeking a first win at the European Championship finals since 2000, play Switzerland on Wednesday before their final group game against Albania on June 19.
(Reporting by Matt Smith; editing by Ken Ferris)