After a good performance in their first World Cup group game, England were unable to achieve the result and display they turned out against Tunisia. Hoddle was forced to make a change to his side who beat Tunisia one week ago. Gareth Southgate was ruled out with an ankle injury and Gary Neville was drafted in to replace the Aston Villa defender.
The first incident of the game was a booking for Hagi in only the third minute when he fouled Ince and Campbell. That was to set the tone for the Romanians who had a total of four players cautioned during the game.
England's first sign of promise came through Darren Anderton who cut inside a Romanian player to blast the ball goalwards from 20 yards. The ball went over the crossbar. Anderton again, moments later, seemed to be causing problems for Romania's defence but Gheorghe Popescu cleared away any danger.
Romania had a spell in England's half but Ilie's and Hagi's attempts all went either wide or high. Another trend of Romania's in the game.
There was nice movement from England in the fourteenth minute when Anderton crossed in a corner to Sheringham. The Manchester United player, beautifully spun and kicked the ball on the volley which, by inches, just failed to connect with Adams' foot.
Then England hearts were racing in the twenty-seventh minute when, again after a period of hitting the ball over or wide of England's goal, Romania, through Ilie, chipped the ball from the edge of the penalty area which glided past Seaman. The only thing saving England was the crossbar as the ball went back into play. England eventually cleared away the danger. It was a nice effort from Ilie.
Having played only 33 minutes, Paul Ince left the field with an ankle injury, and his position was resumed, to the delight of the England fans, by David Beckham. Immediately Beckham's feet did the talking, as he delivered what he had promised when given the chance on the World Cup stage.
With the first half coming to a close England looked as though they might go into the break in the lead but Le Saux's cross to
Scholes in the box came to no avail as the youngster is prevented from shooting by the Romanians.
Into the second half, and the game exploded into life when after just two minutes after the re-start Moldovan put Romania ahead. The Coventry City player linked with Hagi to put the ball in the net from around 8 yards from the goal line. This seemed to have shocked England who had looked very encouraging in the final minutes of the first half.
For the next ten or so minutes the best chances went to Romania, but they couldn't capitalise on their lead. Desperately England tried to equalise and their best opportunity of the second half so far came on 62 minutes when Beckham's free-kick just went over the crossbar. Had it gone in the net it would have been a delightful goal.
Michael Owen made his entrance into the game after 73 minutes as England tried to inject new life into their game. Sheringham left the arena to make way for the young Liverpool star. England's attack now took a new dimension and finally all the goalmouth action resulted in a goal for England and Michael Owen. Scholes, after Shearer and Beckham combined, created the chance when he played the ball back across the penalty area, and instinct took over Owen as he fired the ball into the far corner of the net. England fans were in voice again encouraging their team. There were 7 minutes remaining on the clock.
Beckham then may be could have given England victory when he made a good run down the centre of the field but the ball bounced unkindly on the turf and it went wide of Romania's goal.
It seemed as though the game was going to be tied, but Romania's Petrescu had other ideas. He broke free and beat a chasing Le Saux, who had caught up with his former club-mate, but it was too late. The ball went into the goal through Seaman's legs and Romania were in front in the final minute of regulation time.
There were four minutes of extra time played due to stoppages, but England could not get the equaliser they wanted. Owen was denied by the post in the dying moments of the game.
England now need a draw against Colombia on Friday to qualify for the next round of the competition. The defeat was blamed on schoolboy defending by coach, Glenn Hoddle.
Stelea, Ciubotaiu, Petrescu, Filipescu, Gh Popescu, Munteanu, Galca, Hagi,
(Stinga 73 mins and Marinescu for Stinga 84 mins), G Popescu, Ilie,
Moldovan (Lacatus 87 mins).
Subs Not Used: Prunea, Stingaciu, Dobos.
Seaman #1, Campbell #2, Adams #5, G Neville #12, Le Saux #3, Anderton #14, Ince #4 (Beckham 33 mins - #7), Batty #8, Scholes #16, Sheringham #10 (Owen 73 mins - #20), Shearer #9.
Subs Not Used: Flowers #22, Martyn #13, Keown #18, R Ferdinand #21, Southgate #6, Lee #17, McManaman #15, Merson #18, L Ferdinand #19.
Romania Scorers: Moldovan (47 mins), Petrescu (90 mins)
England Scorer: Owen (83 mins)
Romania Cautions: Hagi, Gh Popescu, Ciubotariu, Marinescu
Referee: M Batta (France)