Romania 3-2 England 2000 Football Match Show Group Stages

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Late Romania penalty in Group A breaks England hearts
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Romania 3-2 England 2000 Football Match Show Group Stages

England saw a place in the quarter-finals ripped cruelly from their grasp as Romania snatched victory with a dramatic late penalty.

Alan Shearer’s penalty and a Michael Owen goal in first-half injury time had looked like securing the point England needed to scrape through in Group A.

But Phil Neville’s ugly late tackle on Viorel Moldovan gave substitute Ioan Ganea the chance to send stand-in keeper Nigel Martyn the wrong way from the penalty spot and break England’s hearts in Charleroi.

England’s night of pain got off to a disastrous start before a ball had even been kicked as goalkeeper David Seaman was forced to pull out through injury just minutes before kick off.

That meant a last-minute call-up for Martyn, but if the Leeds keeper was nervous it did not show as England made a hesitant start in front of him.

Full stretch

Martyn was called into action inside five minutes as Martin Keown’s foul on Adrian Mutu gave Adrian Ilie the chance to whip in a vicious free kick from the edge of the area, only for Martyn to brilliantly palm the shot away at full stretch to his left.

Michael Owen
Michael Owen scores England’s second goal

But England failed to read the warning signs and found themselves behind midway through the first half.

Cristian Chivu was the Romanian hero, though his goal came attached with a huge slice of good fortune.

Chivu was looking for Moldovan at the far post after turning Gary Neville in the penalty area, but his left-foot cross drifted cruelly in off Martyn’s far post to the surprise of everyone – including the goalscorer himself.

That was the only surprise though, as Romania fully deserved their advantage and could easily have extended the lead.

First, Ilie wasted a glorious opening when he headed straight at Martyn after Dan Petrescu’s cross had found him onside but unmarked on the penalty spot.

Then, 10 minutes before half time, Ajax teenager Chivu was inches away from his second goal with a rasping drive that flew just over the crossbar.

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