England will be aiming to maintain their winning momentum when they take on Romania in a friendly encounter this weekend ahead of the Euros.
With the UEFA Euro 2020 just a week away, teams are doing their final preparations for the summer extravaganza. And England, who go into the tournament as one of the favourites, will be hoping to build crucial steam with a win when they lock horns with Romania at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday evening.
England head into the game on the back of a five-game winning streak, with their most recent fixture ending in a 1-0 win over Austria in a friendly encounter earlier this week. And Gareth Southgate will be hoping that his side can carry that momentum forward while he also looks to fine-tune his side and fix on his strongest XI in this final warm-up game before the European Championships.
Romania will not be involved in the Euros, after failing to qualify, following a playoff defeat to Iceland. While they did secure a couple of good results towards the end of the last year, the Tricolorii have lost each of their last three fixtures – two of those defeats coming in the World Cup Qualifiers in March, the other in a friendly against Georgia earlier this week. They will be aiming to end that rut and give a tough fight to England on Sunday.
This will be the first meeting between England and Romania in over twenty years. And ahead of this encounter at the Riverside Stadium, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
England were dealt a major blow during the friendly against Austria as Trent Alexander-Arnold picked up a thigh injury, ruling him out of the Euros. Gareth Southgate, though, is yet to name a replacement for the Liverpool star. Harry Maguire, meanwhile, remains unavailable as he recovers from an ankle issue while Jordan Henderson is also unlikely to be risked from the start.
Captain Harry Kane and the match-winner against Austria, Bukayo Saka, did not train with the rest of the group on Saturday and may not start either but Jadon Sancho has recovered from his illness and is expected to play a part. The Three Lions are expected to stick with the 4-2-3-1 setup that was used in the last game, with Jordan Pickford likely to continue in goal.
— England (@England) June 5, 2021
Kieran Trippier, after starting at left-back last time out, should move to his natural right-back role, with Luke Shaw slotting on the opposite side. Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings ought to pair up at the heart of the England defence once again, with John Stones likely to get some minutes from the bench.
Kalvin Phillips ought to come into the starting XI on Sunday. The Leeds United midfielder should form the double pivot alongside Borussia Dortmund prodigy Jude Bellingham, who will act as the ball-carrier from the centre. Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish ought to get the nod as the No. 10 yet again from where he will look to fashion opportunities to his attacking partners.
Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho ought to get a run-out on the flanks, slotting in on the left and right sides, respectively, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin likely to replace Harry Kane as the lone striker.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Trippier, Coady, Mings, Shaw; Bellingham, Phillips; Sancho, Grealish, Rashford; Calvert-Lewin
Romania manager Mirel Radoi has seen three of his players Nicusor Bancu, Andrei Burca and Iulian Cristea withdraw from the squad due to injuries. In addition, regulars Ionut Radu, Alin Tosca, Valentin Mihaila, Dennis Man, George Puscas, and Florin Andone were all not part of the roster selected by the head coach due to fitness problems.
The visitors are expected to line up in a 4-3-3 formation against England, with Andrei Vlad manning the goal, where he could be in for a busy evening. Deian Sorescu and Cristian Ganea are likely to be the two full-backs, who will mostly stay pinned back and look to restrict spaces for the England forwards. Captain Vlad Chiriches and Ionut Nedelcearu ought to form the central defensive pairing.
Razvan Marin ought to slot in as the deepest of the three central midfielders and try to curb the influence of Jack Grealish, with support likely to come from Darius Olaru. Nicolae Stanciu should take up the third slot in the middle of the park from where he will look to push forward when Romania are in possession.
Ianis Hagi, who enjoyed an impressive season with Scottish champions Rangers, ought to be a guaranteed starter on the right flank, from where he will regularly cut infield and look to make things happen. Alexandru Maxim will provide a goal threat from the left flank for Romania while Claudiu Keseru, who has 14 goals in 44 games for the nation, spearheads the attack.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Vlad; Sorescu, Chiriches, Nedelcearu, Ganea; Olaru, Marin, Stanciu; Hagi, Keseru, Maxim
- This will be the twelfth match-up between England and Romania. The Three Lions have the poorer head-to-head record, having won just two of the previous 11, compared to Romania’s three victories (D6).
- Indeed, England have failed to win each of their last seven meetings against Romania, losing the latest two such games. Their last victory against the Balkan nation came way back in 1970.
- Romania have won just one of their last five games in all competitions (D1 L3). They have failed to keep a single clean sheet during this run.
- England have won eight of their last ten games (L2). During this period, the Three Lions have managed seven shut-outs, including three in the last four games.
- Gareth Southgate has overseen 53 matches as the manager of England and has lost just ten games to date (W33 D10).
Player to Watch
Sunday’s game will be a crucial one for a lot of England players as they look to nail down a starting berth for the Euros. And Marcus Rashford will be one of those stars who will be intent on making a strong impression. The Manchester United forward had an underwhelming end to the 2020/21 season while he was also bogged down by a few fitness problems.
So, the friendly against Romania provides the versatile forward an opportunity to get back into his groove and nail down his spot in Gareth Southgate’s starting XI. If he gets going, Rashford has the ability to lead England a long way in the tournament. So, a vital game beckons the Manchester United speedster.
England 2-0 Romania
England haven’t won a game against Romania in 41 years, although they haven’t played them even once in the last twenty years. Nevertheless, Sunday’s game provides a chance to set that record straight. And given the contrasting forms of the two teams and the gulf of quality between the squads, the Three Lions should be in line for a straightforward victory at the Riverside Stadium.