Romania enter their fifth European Championship campaign and a first since 2008 boasting a truly formidable defensive record that ranked as the best in the continent and efficiently counteracted their evident lack of firepower. Pipped to top spot in qualifying by Northern Ireland, Anghel Iordanescu's side did not suffer a single defeat on the road to France and conceded just two goals during five wins and five draws.

They also recorded clean sheets in recent friendlies against Lithuania and reigning champions Spain, which is likely to leave Group A rivals France, Albania and Switzerland scrambling for inspiration as to how they can possibly break down such a seemingly impenetrable unit marshalled by long-serving captain Razvan Rat and spearheaded by impressive Fiorentina goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu. The stylish Golden Generation featuring national icon Gheorghe Hagi that reached the quarter-finals of the 1998 World Cup may be long gone, but in their place is a workmanlike and committed Tricolorii team that may lack star quality but have proven extremely difficult to beat.

Of particular interest this summer to onlookers of a Premier League persuasion will be the form of Vlad Chiriches. The 26-year-old centre-back, who spent a year with Benfica as a youngster, is a regular at international level and is in the process of rebuilding his club career after an ill-fated two-year stint at Tottenham Hotspur that almost never happened amid colourful reports that controversial Steaua Bucharest owner Gigi Becali initially blocked the deal from his prison cell.

As a member of the now infamous "magnificent seven" brought to White Hart Lane for combined fees totalling in excess of £100m ($144.8m) during the high-profile sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, the former International and CS Pandurii Lignitul Targu Jiu defender arrived with a reputation for being confident and comfortable in possession with a penchant for stepping out of the backline to initiate attacks.

Vlad Chiriches
Napoli centre-back Vlad Chiriches is a vital cog in Romania's miserly defence DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images

A versatile ability to be deployed at right-back or indeed as holding midfielder only seemed to enhance that potential, but Chiriches never quite seemed to settle during his time in English football. Instead, he developed a reputation as a needless and often calamitous risk-taker that failed to establish himself as a reliable long-term option amid competition for places from the likes of Michael Dawson, Younes Kaboul, Jan Vertonghen, Federico Fazio and Eric Dier.

Those struggles did not seem to repel interest from potential Italian suitors such as Roma, however, and, following Tottenham's recruitment of Toby Alderweireld from Atletico Madrid, Chiriches was shipped off to Napoli in July 2015 for a measly fee of just £4.5m. Although a regular fixture in the Europa League, the road to redemption has been painfully slow and he has faced another struggle for league recognition with only eight Serie A appearances to date under Maurizio Sarri.

Vlad Chiriches
Vlad Chiriches made 47 appearances for Tottenham during an unhappy two-year stint in the Premier League GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

It is clear that Romania are certainly not a swashbuckling attacking team that will inspire the neutrals and increasingly tedious football hipsters in the same way that the likes of Iceland already have. However, expect them to continue with their defensive solidity and high work ethic that might be enough to sneak second place behind the hosts in a weak group. Crucial to that will be Chiriches, who is no doubt be eager to prove that he is worthy of a more regular role at club level.