Romania had eased past Colombia 3-1 but suffered a shock 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Switzerland in their next game. Hagi and co were out to prove themselves up against the hosts here in California and did just that securing a 1-0 victory thanks to an early Dan Petrescu goal that sealed their safe passage to the Round of 16 as group winners.
The PSV star Popescu played the full match anchoring a five man midfield. The match was a beautiful sight with both teams wearing iconic Adidas kits and the fact that USA still went through meant there was no bad feeling. Romania went on to be one of the surprise packages of a great tournament, famously beating ’86 winners Argentina in the next round before losing a memorable penalty shoot-out to Sweden in the Quarter Finals. After Hagi, Popescu was the sides best player and went on to play for Tottenham and Barcelona and make 115 appearances for his country.