Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas equalled the record of most international caps for a European player on Sunday as two-time defending European champions Spain drew 0-0 against Romania in Cluj.
Casillas, who made his national team debut in June 2000, returned after sitting out Thursday’s 1-1 draw in Italy to move level with former Latvia midfielder Vitalijs Astafjevs on 166 appearances.
Romania meanwhile took to the field for the warm-up wearing training tops featuring maths problems, rather than shirt numbers, as part of an initiative aimed at combating the country’s poor school dropout rate.
Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto was handed his Spain debut as Vicente del Bosque made wholesale changes to the side that played in Udine three days ago, with their opening game at Euro 2016 just over two months away.
Gerard Pique and Pedro Rodriguez tested Romania keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu early on, while Casillas — still well shy of Egyptian Ahmed Hassan’s all-time record of 184 international caps — was twice forced to turn away efforts from Nicolae Stanciu.
Pique fired straight at Tatarusanu just after half-time after a corner found the Barcelona defender unmarked beyond the far post, but Spain found a Romanian defence that conceded just twice in 10 qualifying matches difficult to break down.
Romania, who qualified for the finals in France as runners-up in Group F, stretched their unbeaten run to 16 matches — a sequence which includes five goalless draws — with Spain now turning their focus towards a third straight European crown.
Maths equation for the Romanians
Romania’s footballers swapped their traditional squad numbers for maths problems ahead of Sunday’s international friendly against European champions Spain in Cluj.
The idea is part of an initiative to help combat the school dropout rate in Romania, listed at 18 percent in 2014, which is one of the highest in the European Union.
The equations were printed on the back of Romania’s training tops and worn during the warm-up, while an instructional video aired at the Cluj Arena before kick-off.
“Football and mathematics are not mutually exclusive,” said Romanian Football Federation president Razvan Burleanu.
“We must look at sports and education as not only complementary but fundamental elements integrated in the training and perfection of children.
“We want to have healthy generation and smart students who achieve performance and tools through tailored passions.
“Through this project, children will learn the basics of football and have an opportunity for the first time in our country –- to discover mathematics through an attractive approach.”