6 September 2019
Romania’s bid for a top-two finish in Group F of the Euro 2020 qualifying faces a major stumbling box as they go head-to-head with the group toppers Spain at the Arena Națională this week.
Although they’ve suffered a 2-1 away loss to Sweden in the opening match of Group F, the hosts have bounced back, securing two wins in the three subsequent qualifying matches (W2, D1). Notably, all of those games have featured over 3.5 goals with both of those wins seeing Romania score precisely three goals before the halftime whistle. It’s been a while since the Tricolours last lost a competitive home game (3-0 loss to Poland in November 2016). They are not only unbeaten at home since then (W4, D3), but Gheorghe Hagi’s players have prevented their rivals from scoring in five of those clashes, restricting them to a maximum of one goal per match in the remaining two. The Romanians are now facing a nation, who they’ve outplayed in three of their previous seven competitive H2Hs at home (W3, D3, L1) although none of those matches took place in the 21st century.
Meanwhile, the visitors got off to a perfect start to the qualifying campaign, securing all four wins at the beginning of Group F. Apart from a 2-1 home win over Norway in the opening match, the Red Fury’s next three qualifying triumphs saw them beat their rivals by a multiple-goal margin. After exiting the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the first knockout-stage round, Spain won three of four trips in all competitions (W3, L1), netting 2+ match goals in each while keeping a clean sheet once. Taking into account their previous World Cup qualifying campaign and the UEFA Nations League, Spain have picked up seven wins in their last nine competitive trips (W7, D1, L1), with six of those wins seeing them score at least two goals.
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