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Euro 2024: After shaky group stage, Netherlands still favored against Romania in round of 16


MUNICH (AP) — Romania plays the Netherlands on Tuesday in the round of 16 at the European Championship. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. local time (1600 GMT) in Munich. The Netherlands have traditionally dominated this fixture but the Dutch also hadn’t lost to Austria since 1990 — until last week. Romania topped its group while a disappointing Netherlands team progressed as one of the four best third-place teams. Despite the problems, the Netherlands will be favored to overcome Romania, potentially giving Ronald Koeman’s team another shot at Austria in the quarterfinals. Here’s what to know about the match:

Match facts

— Romania finished top of its group thanks mainly to a 3-0 win against Ukraine in Munich in their opening fixture. They then lost 2-0 against Belgium and drew 1-1 against Slovakia as all four teams in the section finished with four points – a European Championship first.

— The Netherlands started its Euro 2024 campaign with a 2-1 comeback win over Poland, but then drew 0-0 against France before losing a thrilling match 3-2 to Austria. That saw Austria top the group and relegated the Dutch to third, below France.

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— The winner will advance to face Austria or Turkey in the quarterfinals on Saturday. That could see a quick rematch between the Netherlands and Austria in Berlin.

— This is only Romania’s second time in the knockout stage of the European Championship. It reached the quarterfinals in 2000.

— The Netherlands won the tournament in 1988.

Team news

— Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman has reported no new concerns although his midfield was decimated by a slew of injuries before the tournament.

— Romania winger Nicuşor Bancu is suspended and will likely be replaced by Deian Sorescu.

— Romania midfielder Răzvan Marin, who has scored two of his team’s four goals in Germany, is fully fit after missing a training session last week. “I just had a cold, now I’m 100% fit and tomorrow I will be ready to give my all,” he said.

By the numbers

— The Netherlands have won 10 of the 14 matches between the two teams, scoring 29 goals in the process to Romania’s three.

— Romania’s solitary win was in October 2007, in qualifying for the following year’s European Championship.

— The Netherlands’ loss to Austria was only their second defeat in seven matches this year, having won four of those.

— Romania’s win over Ukraine in their opener was only its second ever at the Euros, after beating England in the group stage in 2000.

— Romania has lost both penalty shootouts it has been involved in at major tournaments. The Dutch have lost six out of eight.

What they’re saying

“We are a proud nation. We like to win. We like to play nice football. But that doesn’t always happen. We take the criticism no problem and we’d like to turn it for tomorrow and make people happy about the final result,” — Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman.

“Every time we see that orange wall in the stadium it has a big impact, it makes us run that bit faster. And hopefully we can do it tomorrow for the country.” — Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo.

“If you’re playing with history in front of you, you’re ready to give your all. No game is easy, especially not one that can get you into the quarterfinals. The Netherlands are favorites tomorrow. They have incredible players, but we have our own strengths.” — Romania coach Edward Iordănescu.

“We are really happy and proud to be first in our group to qualify. The joy that we brought to all Romanians is one of the proudest moments of my life. It’s been a long and hard road because it didn’t start one or two months ago, but instead two years ago.” — Romania defender Radu Drăguşin.

“I am not afraid of anything at this point. I am doing what I love, and I do it with enthusiasm and passion. Why should I be afraid?” — Romania goalkeeper Florin Niță.

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