Hagi made his debut for the Romania national team at age 18 in 1983 against Norway, in Oslo. He was part of the Romanian team until 2000. Hagi took part at the 1990 World Cup and later led the Romanian team to its best ever international performance at the 1994 World Cup, where the team reached the quarterfinals before Sweden ended their run after winning the penalty shoot-out. Hagi scored three times in the tournament, including a memorable goal in their 3–2 surprise defeat of South American powerhouse and previous runners-up Argentina. In the first of Romania’s group stage matches, against Colombia, Hagi scored one of the most memorable goals of that tournament, curling in a 40-yard lob over Colombian goalkeeper Óscar Córdoba who was caught out of position. He was named in the Team of the Tournament. Four years later, after the 1998 World Cup, Hagi decided to retire from the national team, only to change his mind after a few months and participate in UEFA Euro 2000, during which he was sent off in the quarter-final loss against eventual runners-up Italy. Hagi retired from professional football in 2001, age 36, in a game called “Gala Hagi” on 24 April. He still holds the record as Romanian national team top scorer.