Romania hold Spain to goalless draw as Casillas equals European record
Romania held European champions Spain to a 0-0 draw on Sunday in a Euro 2016 warm-up on Sunday that saw visiting goalkeeper Iker Casillas equal the record for most international caps by a Europeanfootball Updated: Mar 28, 2016 14:18 IST
Romania held European champions Spain to a 0-0 draw on Sunday in a Euro 2016 warm-up on Sunday that saw visiting goalkeeper Iker Casillas equal the record for most international caps by a European player.
Casillas’s 166th appearance for Spain, over a 16 year span that includes winning the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, took him level with Latvia’s Vitalijs Astafjevs in the continent’s record books.
The goalkeeper has also not conceded a goal in 710 minutes for Spain but he was forced to make a couple of fine saves to keep the clean sheet.
The stalemate also showed that both teams have work to do in front of goal before the European championship finals in France start in June.
It was Spain’s second friendly in four days following their fortuitous 1-1 draw away to Italy in Udinethat ended their run of seven successive wins as well as a run of six successive clean sheets.
David de Gea played in goal for Spain in that match.
The game featured several missed chances with Romania, who have never lost at home to Spain, enjoying decent spells of possession and always looking to counter in numbers.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque made 10 changes to the side that started against Italy, with centre back Gerard Pique the only survivor and Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto making his international debut.
“Romania had a very good game,” said del Bosque. “They didn’t let us play our brand of football. They’re a good national team.
“I’m not completely satisfied with the two games. We lacked depth in general.”
The second-string lineup started well, creating some decent chances, and Romania keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu produced an excellent save to deny Pedro Rodriguez an opener after 10 minutes.
The open, attacking nature of the game continued but it was obvious that Spain needed more quality in the penalty area against a team unbeaten in their 16 previous games.
Nicolae Stanciu, who scored a stunning long-range winner on his international debut in Romania’s 1-0 win over Lithuania in another friendly on Thursday, tested Casillas on two occasions with lively Adrian Popa also looking dangerous.
The two coaches made a number of substitutions after the break with the flow fizzling out before Florin Andone beat his marker in the penalty area and smashed a low left-footed shot just wide.
“It was a good test,” said Romania coach Anghel Iordanescu. “I’m glad that our tactical approach paid off. Spain are still a very good team, but we managed to keep them fairly well under control.”
“We should really have scored at least one goal tonight.”
A minute’s silence was observed before the game in a tribute to Dutch great and former Barcelona player and coach Johan Cruyff, who died on Thursday aged 68 after a five-month battle with lung cancer.
Romania have been drawn in Group A with hosts France, Switzerland and Albania at Euro 2016. Spain are in Group D alongside Turkey, Croatia and the Czech Republic.
First Published: Mar 28, 2016 13:35 IST