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Euro 2016 Profile: Romania make case for the defence

Tricolorii bring best rearguard record in qualifying into France finals, but will decent defence be enough to see them progress past their pool?

We’re profiling all 24 teams that will be competing in France, so punters will have an expert view as Europe’s finest collide.

This time we focus on Romania, who finished their qualifying campaign unbeaten and sit 16th in the FIFA world rankings.

Romania now face a group of Switzerland, Albania and hosts France. The nation that has produced greats such as Gheorghe Hagi and Gheorghe Popescu and 888 Sport have them at 17/11 to qualify for the knockout phase.

History at the Euros: In 2000 Romania registered their best-ever Euro finish.

The Tricolorii had a strong qualifying campaign, winning a tough group. Romania went on to face a very difficult group against 1996 champions Germany, semi-finalists England and powerful Portugal.

They went on to the knockout rounds and even knocked England out with a last minute penalty to see them into the quarter finals. Romania later exited thanks to a 2-0 defeat by Italy.

Head coach: Anghel Iordanescu led his nation to an unbeaten 2016 campaign, finishing with the best defensive record in qualifying.

Iordanescu has instilled the same disciplined, team ethic and strong defence that was key to Greece’s shock Euro 2004 triumph. The manager won four league titles and two Romanian Cups with Steaua Bucharest with the same style.

Now in his third spell as Romania manager, in his first Iordanescu guided Romania to three successive major tournaments in the 1990s.

Key player: Vlad Chiriches may have registered two unconvincing seasons at Tottenham and is finding it equally hard to cement a first-team place in Italy with Napoli, but the defender is absolutely crucial to his nation’s recent success.

National skipper Chiriches sets an example of the solid, team based style that Iordanescu demands. Marshalling this miserly defence gives the Tricolorii even chance of finishing second in Group A at top odds of 12/5 with Boylesports.

Rising Star: Born in Botosan, Romania but raised in Spain, Florin Andone is impressing for Spanish club Cordoba.

The forward attacks space, has great technique and seems to be always on the move with good off the ball movement in and out the box.

Andone is on course to break the 20-goal this season and the 22 year-old has garnered interest from Southampton, Sevilla and Malaga last year. The forward will likely be on the move this summer.

Wildcard: Stuttgart’s Alexandru Maxim is a player to watch out for in France.

Maxim possesses fantastic technique, agility and flair. In his best season with the German club he netted nine goals in 26 games and chipped in with 11 assists.

Swansea had a £5m bid turned down for the attacking midfielder in January 2015.

Confirmed Romania Euro 2016 fixtures:
All kick-offs are British Summer time (BST)
Friday, June 10th: France v Romania (20:00); Stade de France, Paris, ITV
Wednesday, June 15th: Romania v Switzerland (17:00); Parc des Princes, Paris, ITV
Sunday, June 19th: Romania v Albania (20:00); Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon, BBC

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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