Romania’s Return to European Football Ends in Familiar Heartbreak But New Boss Gives Renewed Hope
Not since the 1990’s has Romania had a football team to be feared The Magical majestic Gheorghe Hagi leading his nation to more success than the country has ever experienced before it was breath of fresh air and a time of excitement it brought the country together. Club football is one thing but nothing in this world means more to be than my country I’m very proud to be a part of this beautiful country an exhilarating nation. I might live in the United States But Romania is home International football is everything is not life and Death is much more important than that when I see those Yellow and Red Colors I feel unified I feel connected with a nation that directly impacts my life people say their teams mean everything to them you could search a thousand miles and you still wouldn’t find anyone who loves their team more than me this is not some small deal this means everything to me because where they play nothing else matters whatever is going on in my life is not relevant for those 90 minutes I’m free from anything that’s going on because country is a part of who I am.
The 90’s were the golden age of Romanian football making the knockout stage in three consecutive World cups in 1990,1994 & 1998 they even made the quarterfinals in USA 1994. I wasn’t old enough to understand but I’ve been told the stories of this team. Especially in 1994 that team that could have beaten anyone managed by most recent Romania manager Anghel Iordănescu a talented side with the capability to go the distance they showed it right from the start in their opening game. Facing World Cup Favorites Columbia putting together quite a dominant performance in a 3-1 victory leaving Columbia in disappointment. They followed that up with an embarrassing 4-1 loss at the hands of Switzerland but they finished off the group stage strong beating the hosts getting a 1-0 shootout against the United States. Romania won their respective group with 2 wins and a loss earning 6 points as well as a spot in the Round of 16. Making the knockout stage for the 2nd World Cup in a row in the Round of 16 they would meet 1990 Runners up & 1986 World Cup winners Argentina. They would go into the match as heavy underdogs despite Maradona not being there due to Drug scandal Argentina were expected the win. But sometimes things don’t go according Romania still had the crushing memory of losing to Ireland in Penalty’s four years earlier despite all that Romania came prepare. A Wild game that would be one of the shocks of the tournament Romanians would come out attacking right out the game it only took them 11 minutes to break the deadlock with Dumitrescu scoring the opening goal to take the lead. It brought shockwaves throughout the world it would be short lived as Argentina were given a Penalty five minutes later with Gabriel Batistuta converting from the spot. Than only two minutes later Romania would hit back again with Dumitrescu scoring his 2nd goal of the game in the 18th minute going up 2-1. The went into the half up on than going into the half they would continue to build on that the verge of putting the game out of a reach in the 58th minute with Romanians star Gheorghe Hagi beating the keeper for the their 3rd goal with the 3-1 lead with under 30 minutes left it looked like Argentina was on the verge on an exist. Argentina eventually got one back with 15 minute left but it was too little too late as Romania made history pulling off the upset with the 3-2 win taking them to their 1st world cup quarterfinal in the country’s history.
The Pinpoint of their success was Gheorghe Hagi a magical player that played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Galatasaray & Steaua București. He scored 338 goal
I wasn’t old enough to understand but I’ve been told the stories of this team.
in Romania he wasn’t a superstar he wasn’t a king he was God’s for club and country he is Romania’s shared top scorer with 35 goals highlighting his international career was the display of brilliance he showed at USA 94 he scored 3 goals to lead Romania’s way to the quarterfinals. Where they met Sweden in the biggest match in Romania football history. After they fell behind with less than 20 with remaining it seemed Sweden would be headed to the Semi Finals but with less than two minutes to go Romania’s Raduciou equalized to give Romania life it would force extra time. They took advantage of the Momentous moment into extra time Raduciou scored again in the 110th minute to put Romania on the brink of more history but a big mistake by the Romanian keeper cost them the lead as Sweden equalized with only 4 minutes to go forcing the dreaded penalty shootout. It which Romania where sent home in heartbreak. Something all too familiar to the Romanians after the 90’s the success of the Romania national team faded in exception to a quarterfinal appearance at Euro 2000. It’s been a succession of early exits or not making major tournaments. It’s been rough for the country every time we have renewed hope it doesn’t come through for us. Most recently we went 8 years without a major tournament the team hasn’t been in the world cup since 1998 it’s been almost a decade since they have been a part of the world’s biggest sporting event.
In 2014 it seemed like Romania had some renewed hope the team hired a coach who was the man who lead the Romanian charge in the successful years Anghel Iordănescu taking over the national side for the 3rd time coming out of Retirement to help them get back to a major tournament qualifying for the Euros was the goal. Romania ended up getting Greece, Northern Ireland, Hungary, Faeroe Islands & Finland in their group the road to France would begin Romania doesn’t have the big stars like other Europeans countries most of our stars are either home grown or playing in countries like Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia and countries like that not a lot of players in the big 4 leagues. But with a pretty winnable group they you don’t need stars to be a great national side you need a unite of 11 players working together for the greater good a unite is always better than having one superstar. Romania start off very well and maintained it throughout the 10 games despite a minor slip up at the end Romania finished 2nd in their group behind Northern Ireland. After an 8-year absence from major tournament they returned which brought tears to my eyes the country had been waiting for this moment for quite some time it gave the Romanian people a sense of hope. Many people were impressed with their defense. The Romanian defense lead qualifying only conceding two goals in 10 games. It was believed by some that they had the best defense throughout Europe defensively speaking they didn’t have many weaknesses but offensively they didn’t have much only scoring 11 goals in 10 games during qualifying phase. There were some bright spots on o offence headling it was the emergence of Nicola Stanciu and Florin Andone who provided some positivity on the attacking side of this team built on a stone wall defense. There return to the tournament began a reality they were drawn into Group A with hosts France Switzerland and Newcomers Albania. They would play France in the opening game of the tournament and what a day it would be. Despite the game being played in France there was an overwhelming amount of Romanian support it truly was a Sea of Yellow these fans and supporters waited 8 years for this moment it was amazing to see how many people came out to support their national side. The game its self was terrific Romania hung with France for the entire 90 minutes and made their presence felt right away in the 4th minute of the game Romania nearly scored twice of a perfectly placed corner kick in the 1st 5 minutes they had three shots on goal. the defense was doing a fantastic job as well. It seemed that they were giving the French a serious challenge going into halftime it was 0-0. Romania tried to hold them off as much as they could but they could only hold on for so long as Oliver Giroud put the ball past the keeper with a header. It seemed to be dooms day as Romania is a team that struggles to score. But luck looked to be on their side when Stanciu was tackled inside the giving the Romanian’s the penalty Stancu taking advantage of the opportunity equalizing to silence the crowd. Than for the rest of the game they tried everything they could to hang on for dear life deep into the game it had looked like they were going to steal a point but it the 89’ minute West Ham’s Dimitri Payet hit a stunning shot from outside of the box and blasted it in the back of the net an unsaveable ball for Tatarusanu leaving Romania in disappointment missing a chance to steal a point from the French. But Romania played very well throughout the game so the loss wasn’t look at like a negative it was very unluckily for them. In the 2nd group game they played against Switzerland and once again Romania came out very strong defensively and 18 minutes in they would draw yet another penalty in which Stancu hit with ease Romania would be in control for most of the game but yet again an unstoppable goal would rob them of potential win leaving the game with just one point. Than in final game of the group the faced Albania a win would take Romania to the knockout rounds. They would be heavily favored in the game but they never showed up falling to a team that have never been to the euros ever before as Romania would crash out with just one point to show for it was very disappointing and slightly heart breaking for me personally I didn’t wait 8 years for us to go right back out it was a great moment when we finally qualified for a major tournament once again but the resolve of the lack of success in the tournament hurt. It’s not like losing in the Super bowl because there’s always next year when you get eliminated from the world Cup or euros there isn’t next year. I think it’s time to rebuild this team I do still believe we can achieve greatness but in due time.
In conclusion to the Euro’s Anghel Iordănescu stepped down as Romania’s manager to retire. he was considered by many as Romania’s best ever manager it was sad to see him go but it was time to move on and build for the future. About three weeks after Romina’s elimination from the Euro’s they found their man they went to Germany to find experienced German coach Christoph Datum. As he was Appointed to the national side on a two-year deal. He said this following his appointment,
“I am happy to be here,” said the 62-year-old. “It is an honor and responsibility for me to give my best for the Romanian national team. In order to achieve success, we need to show a united front. Teamwork and belief are important. Let’s stick together when times are tough.” – Christoph Daum
Daum has won 8 Major Trophies Including 5 league titles one in Germany winning the Bundesliga with Stuttgart in 1992 as well as three in Turkey winning with Beşiktaş in 1995 and going back to back with Fenerbahçe in 2004 and 2005 as well as winning the league title in Austria with Austria Wien. He has won 52% Of his games winning 521 drawing 230 and losses 234 throughout his career. This will be his 1st International job. HE has a great chance to get the very best of all the young players. It time to build within! I believe he can take us back to where we need to be we have the talent and the desire to be a dangerous team once again but the #1 priory needs to be qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Romania, who finished bottom of their UEFA EURO 2016 group, will play Poland, Denmark, Montenegro, Armenia and Kazakhstan in World Cup qualifying. They should be able to get 2nd in this group behind Poland. It was very disappointing to get knocked out but the new boss gives us a renewed sense of hope.
Süper Lig: 1994–95
Turkish Cup: 1993–94
Austrian Football Bundesliga: 2002–03
Süper Lig: 2003–04, 2004–05
Turkish Super Cup: 2009