Romania: Death of Another Dream

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A little over a year ago the Romanians were ranked 8th in the World By FIFA after a 20 games unbeaten run as they would go through Euro qualifying and International friendlies without a loss for 20 odd games. The Romanians would get second in their qualifying group going unbeaten over the 10 games only conceding 3 goals as they had the best defense in all of Euro qualifying as they would get into their first international tournament in 8 years securing a spot at Euro 2016 in France. Their last international tournament being in Euro 2008 where they were unable to get out of the group getting 3rd as they weren’t able to make a run like they did in Euro 2000 where they made the last 8 or the Hagi years where they had a lot more success.

Anghel Iordănescu in an press conference

Getting back into a major tournament was a sense of success for the country. At Euro 2016 things didn’t go as planned but they put in good performances against the likes of France and Switzerland. Romanian would go out and big changes ahead as Anghel Iordănescu left his post as the Romania manager to retire he was the manager during the Hagi years and two years ago he returned to management to bring Romania back to an international tournament despite renewed hope without him they would struggle as their would be a rough road ahead.

Despite Romania losing their top 10 ranking due to their European Championship performance some European teams came in for several Romanian internationals. With Florin Andone being signed by Deportivo La Coruña for 4.7 Million having a terrific debut season winning La Liga player of the Month in December and being awarded Deportivo’s Player of the season with his 12 goals last season, this summer Premier League side Burnley had a 13 million deal rejected. Another player to move after the Euros was Romania’s most talented star Nicolae Stanciu who headed to Anderlecht for 7.8 Million who scored 8 goals and a impressive 4 goals in Europe.

Alexandru Chipciu would join Stanciu in Belgium scoring 8 goals in his own right as the two of them lead Anderlecht to the Europa league Quarterfinal. As well as Adrian Popa heading to English Championship side Reading, Răzvan Marin heading to Standard Liege Alin Toșca heading to Real Betis as well as the heir of Gheorghe Hagi Ianis Hagi signed for Fiorentina. There have been a lot of interest regarding the talent that the players in Romanian football have to offer. So on paper they should be doing well collectively as a nation but things don’t always work out the way they should.

After the retirement of Romanian legend Anghel Iordănescu the Romanian football federation went abroad to find a replacement to the greatest manager in Romania football history. They went to Germany to appoint Christoph Daum as the man to lead Romania forward. Christoph Daum on paper had looked like a fantastic hire as the German was a league winner in Germany, Austria and a 3-Time league winner in Turkey. He has won 8 trophies as a manager posting a managerial record of 521-230-234 with a 52% winning percentage, a polished manager who had looked the part but some thing are easier said then done. Romania would be drawn into Group E of World Cup Qualifying would drawn in with Poland, Denmark, Montenegro, Kazakhstan and Armenia.

A group that you would have thought that Romania would be able to handle themselves. In the group Poland would be a shoe in but could battle with Denmark for second so everyone thought. Romania started the opening game of the group with a BIG win against Armenia putting 5 past them in an opening 5-0 win. That would be the highest point of their qualifying campaign. They would follow that up with a 0-0 draw with the mighty Kazakhstan their FIFA Ranking began to drop out of the Top 20’s and below as qualifying continued.

They would then lose to Poland in a easy 3-0 win for Polish then lose to Russia in an International friendly then a dull 0-0 draw to Demark as Romania began slipping out of the World Cup. With the unlikely success of Montenegro, it put them on the verge of mathematically being eliminated from the world cup qualifying. They would get outclassed by Poland yet again as the Romania’s continued to slip and drop further in the FIFA rankings. The new manager wasn’t taking them forwards, rather he was leading them backwards. One is not expecting for them to beat Poland but they are good enough to walk the rest of the group. However their was some positives in their next international friendly against 4th ranked Chile as they came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 the game didn’t count for anything but they showed quality in that game. Qualities that were thrown out of the window in their 2nd qualifying match against Armenia this last week. Romania were really poor, they struggled throughout the match and it took them 93 minutes to beat 10-Men Armenia who are 5th in of the group.

They got the 1-0 win but it was very bad news for the World Cup dream as they would have needed to beat high flying Montenegro to stay alive. A loss or draw would mathematically eliminate them from the World cup as the dream would end. Once again Romania would let themselves down as Montronegro would nick a 1-0 win. Romania has been officially eliminated from the World Cup. After two years earlier getting back to a tournament feeling the sense accomplishment in the country to now feeling the sense of disappointment. Romanians fear that they won’t see the National side reach the heights of the Hagi years in quite some time. Christoph Daum needs a really strong finish to the qualifying games or we could be looking at more changes with the national side as we begin Hard times.