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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Italy Shuts Romania Down 2-0




BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Francesco Totti and Filippo Inzaghi fired Italy into the semifinals of Euro 2000 with a 2-0 victory over Romania on Saturday, while Gheorghe Hagi's career came to an end with a second-half expulsion.


Dino Zoff's Italian team, hardly rated as title contender before the tournament, has now won four games in a row.


The team now faces the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Thursday for a place in the final for the first time since 1968.


Totti fired the Italians ahead in the 33rd minute and Inzaghi, who also hit the post near the end, made up for several previous misses by hitting the second just before halftime.


Each blew kisses to their parents in the crowd after their goals.


The Romanians, who made it to the last eight after a dramatic 3-2 win over England in the group matches, tried to hit back but lost Hagi in the 60th minute when he was expelled for his second yellow card.


The 35-year-old star, who has been his country's best player for a decade and had already come out of retirement once, was shown the red card for diving.


Portuguese referee Vitor Manuel Melo Pereira had shown him a yellow card only minutes earlier for a bad foul that knocked Italian midfielder Antonio Conte out of the game.


Hagi, who missed the previous game against England through suspension, was furious he had been sent off in what looked like his final and 125th game in Romanian colors.


He covered his face in despair as he eventually left the field.


Roma's Totti, preferred in the starting lineup to Juventus' Alessandro Del Piero, fired his second goal of the competition in the 33rd minute to liven up a game that was doing little to excite the spectators at the King Baudouin Stadium.


The second goal came two minutes from the break when Inzaghi took a deep pass and was left to run clear and shoot past keeper Bogdan Stelea for his second of the campaign.


Totti also missed another chance while Inzaghi was guilty of a glaring miss early in the game. Hagi hit the post at the other end.


With team captain Gheorghe Popescu out of the competition with a ruptured calf muscle and Cosmin Contra, Dan Petrescu and Adrian Ilie all suspended, the Romanians, who snatched a quarterfinal place thanks to a late penalty in the win over England, had a patched-up team.


"We did not field our best 11," said Romanian coach Emerich Jenei. "Italy won because they scored when they had opportunities."


Zoff said he was "moderately satisfied" with his team's performance, but was disappointed with their play after Hagi was expelled.


"Some thought reaching the quarterfinals was impossible, and we're happy with what we've accomplished," Zoff said. "But we have to play much better."


"This team has shown real character and a great will to win," Totti said.