Romania lost the semifinal against Germany but remain one of the most outstanding teams at the European Under-21 Championship.
Romania played well and dominated
the defending champions Germany in the first half of the semifinal of
the European Under-21 Championship hosted by Italy and San Marino. The match
was played in Bologna in searing heat, with which the Romanian players coped
well for half a match. By the second half, however, they were drained
physically and Germany came back into the match from 1-2 at half-time to win
4-2, scoring the decisive goals in the final moments of the match.
Commentators and supporters agree
that the young Romanian side put on a very good performance in this match and
had an overall remarkable tournament. Suffice it to say that Romania qualified
for the semifinals having won what everyone agreed was the most difficult
group, after two wins, against Croatia 4-1 and England 4-2, and a goalless draw
against France, a result that allowed both sides to advance to the next stage.
Romania may have lost the match against Germany, but they booked their ticket
to the Olympic Games after 56 years, not to mention that they have managed to
coagulate a team with a promising future, a team that achieved a historic
result by making it to the semifinals of a European championship in which they
were on a par with the three sides that have won the recent editions of the Over-21
World Cup, namely Spain, Germany and France. Their success stands in contrast
with the rest of Romanian football, both the national side and the clubs.
Here's the line-up of Romania's Under-21 side: Ionuţ Andrei Radu, Cristian Manea, Ionuţ Nedelcearu, Alexandru Paşcanu,
Florin-Bogdan Ştefan, Tudor Băluţă, Alexandru Cicâldău, Dennis Man, Ianis Hagi
(the son of the former Romanian international Gheorghe Hagi), Andrei Ivan and
George Puşcaş (the team's top scorer).
Gheorghe Hagi, the founder and financier of the
football academy that trained most of the players in the Romanian under-21
side, believes this golden generation is better than the one he was part of 25
years ago and which is known as "the golden generation". "They have their entire
future ahead of them, I hope they'll have beautiful careers and that they'll
play for Romanian sides. We must congratulate them and encourage them because
they are young and need support and confidence in order to continue to have
outstanding results. They were very close to making it to the final, they
fought as equals with Germany. This generation has surpassed us, we never made
it to a semifinal", said Hagi.
The manager of the Romanian under-21 side, the former
international player Mirel Radoi, says the players should be proud of their
achievements at this tournament, which will take them to next year's Olympic
Games in Tokyo. "I will cherish the memory that we finished in the last four,
that we had dozens of thousands of people supporting us in the stadium and
several million in front of their TVs, that people who did not have much faith
in us have realised that we can have some beautiful results", the Romanian