Romania play against France in the opening match of the 2016 European Football Championship as the draw was made on Saturday in Paris.
The qualification for next year’s Euro 2016 is a great achievement for Romanian football, given that it generally lacks modern infrastructure and has not had any memorable international results in years. Nothing like the 1990s generation with stars such as Gheorghe Hagi, Gica Popescu, Dan Petrescu and Ilie Dumitrescu, Romania’s football side today managed to qualify despite a difficult, chaotic and unconvincing campaign, say sports commentators. They latter argue that Romania was lucky to be in an easy qualifying group, and this is what helped them qualify and not their play, which was lacklustre and much too defensive.
In their first Euro 2016 match, Romania will face France in the tournament’s opening game on 10th of June on Stade de France stadium. In their next game on 15th June, Romania play against Switzerland on Parc de Princes stadium in Paris and then Albania on 19th June in Lyon. France are the definite favourites in Group A, while the other three sides are relatively equal. “I would have preferred not to play the opening match of the tournament, not against France, anyway”, said Romania’s manager Anghel Iordanescu, a man with a lot of experience who won the best coach of the 20th century title in Romania.
He said his main problem is that the future of many national side players at their foreign clubs is uncertain. Not to mention that unlike the 1990s, when Romania had players at big clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid, Romanian players today, with two or three exceptions, play for small teams in Turkey, Israel, the Arab world and China. Moving on to handball, we may say that the Romanian women’s handball team could be a good example for the national football side.
The former have reached the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Handball Championship under way in Denmark after winning against the defending world champions Brazil 25:22. This is a surprising result given that Romania did not do very well in their group, having lost three matches, against Spain, Norway and Russia. On Wednesday, Romania face host country Denmark for a place in the semifinals.
(Translated by Cristina Mateescu)