Romania face injury woes after draw with Switzerland
By Matt Smith
PARIS (Reuters) - Romania face mounting injury problems ahead of their decisive Euro 2016 tie with Albania following a bruising 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Wednesday.
The result means Anghel Iordanescu’s men can still qualify for the last 16 from Group A, most likely as one of the four best third-placed teams, providing they can win against tournament debutants Albania on Sunday.
However, Romania’s prospects appear grimmer after central midfielder Mihai Pintilii and talismanic left back Razvan Rat hobbled off with injuries at Parc des Princes.
“Pintilii has some physical problems. I don’t know if he will be ready for the next game,” Romania coach Anghel Iordanescu told a news conference. “Rat asked to be substituted. It’s difficult to say whether he will play.”
Iordanescu, in his third stint in charge of the national team, said Rat’s second-half replacement Steliano Filip was also hurt, while goal scorer Bogdan Stancu was suffering from muscle pains.
Romania began well against Switzerland, taking the lead through Stancu’s 18th-minute penalty, but they tired after half-time as the Swiss equalised via Admir Mehmedi’s fierce 57th-minute half-volley and then pushed in vain for a winner that would have guaranteed Vladimir Petkovic’s men a place in the knockout rounds.
“We went through two completely opposite halves. First half we controlled the ball, linked play and … created some other chances,” added Iordanescu. “We suffered a lot during the second half and were facing huge pressure from Switzerland.”
Switzerland again lacked ruthlessness in front of goal, converting only one of their 19 attempts, of which six were on target.
Striker Haris Seferovic, who has struggled at Eintracht Frankfurt this season, wasted two simple chances in the first half, while his team mates also snatched at efforts when they had more time or over-elaborated when decisive action was required.
“I can’t say we’re very happy with the result,” said man-of-the-match Granit Xhaka.
“It was one of the best performances our national team has shown -- we have created so many chances but unfortunately we couldn’t win because we didn’t finish.”
A point against France in their final group match would lift Switzerland to five points, guaranteeing a top-two finish.
(Editing by Clare Fallon)