On This Day: 17 March


Florin Raducioiu
Date of birth: 17 March 1970
National team: Romania (40 caps, 21 goals)
Clubs: Dinamo Bucharest, Bari, Verona, Brescia, AC Milan, RCD Espanyol, West Ham United, VfB Stuttgart, Brescia, Dinamo Bucharest, AS Monaco, US Creteil-Lusinatons

In the summer of 1994, almost overnight, Florin Raducioiu became one of the most-feared strikers in world football. The Bucharest-born hitman notched four goals at the FIFA World Cup finals in the United States as Romania reached the quarter-finals before being knocked out by Sweden.

Raducioiu's form at the World Cup came as a surprise to many, especially considering that the 24-year-old had scored just twice in seven appearances for AC Milan during the whole of the 1993/94 season. The forward moved on to RCD Espanyol after the tournament, remaining in Spain for two seasons before being snapped up by Harry Redknapp in July 1996 for a fee of £2.4m.

The Romanian remained at the Boleyn Ground for just six months, scoring three goals in 12 appearances - five of which came from the substitutes' bench - before returning to Espanyol for £1.7m. Despite his inability to adapt to English football, Raducioiu showed glimpses of the promise that made him one of Eastern Europe's brightest young talents during his formative years with Dinamo Bucharest.

Instead of establishing himself as one of Europe's top strikers following his memorable showing in the USA, Raducioiu led a nomadic career that also saw him don the colours of Bari, Verona, Brescia, VfB Stuttgart, AS Monaco and US Creteil-Lusitanos.

Classic Match

West Ham United 3-1 FC Den Haag
European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final, second-leg
17 March 1976

When West Ham United were trailing 4-0 after just 42 minutes of the first-leg of their European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final with Dutch side FC Den Haag, all bets on the Hammers reaching the final for the second time in their history were all but off. After two second half goals from Billy Jennings in the Netherlands, West Ham were still rank outsiders to progress, but they had a chance.

That chance became a probability following a storming first half performance from John Lyall's side on an emotional night at the Boleyn Ground. Alan Taylor shot West Ham into a 28th-minute lead before Frank Lampard doubled the advantage five minutes later.

When Billy Bonds made the score 3-0 on the night - and 5-4 to the home side on aggregate - it appeared the Hammers would coast into the semi-finals, only for Den Haag's Lex Shoenmaker to level the scores with a little over half-an-hour remaining. West Ham held out, however, to sneak through to the last-four on the away-goals rule.