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BUCHAREST, May 30 (Reuters)(DS) - Gheorghe Hagi said on
Wednesday he was confident he would inspire Romania to their
greatest ever performance at the European Championship.
"Romania's squad has huge potential and this makes me and my
team mates believe we could play right up to the end," an upbeat
Hagi said after coach Emeric Ienei announced his 22-man squad
for the championship starting next month.
"I'm confident we will be able to win the first three
matches in the group."
Romania qualified for the European Championship in 1984 and
1996 but failed to win a match.
Hagi, named as the Romanian player of the century last year,
said Romania had the ability to confound expectations just like
his club side Galatasaray of Turkey who won the UEFA Cup earlier
this month.
"Last year, nobody believed Galatasaray could win a European
trophy," Hagi said.
Hagi said Romania was unmatched in the first round of the
tournament where they face Germany, Portugal and England.
"Romania beat Portugal in the preliminaries campaign,
England at the 1998 World Cup finals and drew with Germany in a
friendly two years ago," Hagi said. "So, why should we be afraid
to play against them?"
Romania's coach Emeric Ienei left defenders Iulian Miu of
Steaua Bucharest and Stefan Nanu of Vitesse Arnhem out of his
final 22 as well as midfileders Marius Maldarasanu of Rapid
Bucharest and Catalin Munteanu of Salamanca.
But he retained veteran defender Miodrag Belodedici, 36, and
Dinamo Bucharest midfielder Ionut Lupescu, aged 32.
Romania lost a friendly against the Netherlands in Amsterdam
2-1 last weekend and will play their last warm-up match against
Greece in Bucharest on June 3.
Squad:
Goalkeepers: Bogdan Stelea (Salamanca), Bogdan Lobont (Ajax
Amsterdam), Florin Prunea (Universitatea Craiova;
Defenders: Cosmin Contra (Alaves), Gheorghe Popescu
(Galatasaray), Miodrag Belodedici (Steaua Bucharest), Liviu
Ciobotariu (Standard Liege), Iulian Filipescu (Real Betis),
Cristian Chivu (Ajax Amsterdam);
Midfielders: Dan Petrescu (Chelsea), Florentin Petre (Dinamo
Bucharest), Gheorghe Hagi (Galatasaray), Constantin Galca
(Espanyol), Catalin Haldan (Dinamo Bucharest), Eric Linkar
(Steaua Bucharest), Dorinel Munteanu (Wolfsbrug), Ionut Lupescu
(Dinamo Bucharest), Laurentiu Rosu (Steaua Bucharest);
Forwards: Ionel Ganea (Stuttgart), Adrian Mutu (Inter
Milan), Viorel Moldovan (Fenerbahce Istanbul), Adrian Ilie
(Valencia).
 

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No surprises, except maybe for Belodedici being called up. He hasn't played for like 3 years. Everything looks good for us. The injuries to Stelea and Ilie seem to be minor. And Popescu and Petrescu's as well.
 
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