Romania's "flower children" will have to take matters a little more seriously from now on.
It was all right, on Friday, to be dyed and tied--or tie-dyed, as the case may be--but if they want to achieve their goal and advance beyond their 1994 quarterfinal showing, they had better tighten up on all fronts.
At the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Romania, fielding a handful of reserve players, looked far too casual and almost paid the price against an attack-minded Tunisian team inspired by winger Ben Slimane and striker Adel Sellimi.
In the end, a 72nd-minute goal by forward Viorel Moldovan earned the Romanians--all of whom had dyed their hair yellow to match the color in the national flag--a 1-1 tie and a second-round game against Croatia.
But the goal came only after Coach Anghel Iordanescu sent three usual starters, including Moldovan, into the game. "We were very poor in the first half and our whole game was disorganized," Iordanescu said. "The disorganization was my fault because I had changed five players."
The North Africans had taken a lead in the 11th minute when Romanian defender Christian Dulca fouled Sellimi and Australian referee Edward Lennie awarded Tunisia a penalty kick.
Skander Souayah made no mistake with the shot from 12 yards, giving goalkeeper Bogdan Stelea no chance to save it.
It was Tunisia's first and only goal of the tournament.
Romania needed to win the group to avoid having to play Argentina next. The South Americans would have been looking to avenge their loss to Romania that eliminated them from the 1994 World Cup.