The latest news from football, handball, fencing and rugby.
The main sports event of the year got under way on Sunday in Qatar - the Football World Cup. In the opening match, Ecuador defeated the host country 2-nil. Romania once again misses out on the final tournament, having last qualified in 1998 when the World Cup was hosted by France. The Romanian national squad have played instead two friendly matches in recent days. On Thursday, they hosted Slovenia in Cluj and lost 1-2, and on Sunday they defeated Moldova away in Chișinău 5-nil.
The European Women's Handball Championship jointly hosted by Slovenia, Montenegro and North Macedonia came to an end on Sunday. In the final held in Ljubljana, Norway defeated Denmark 27-25. Romania finished in 12th place, just like in the previous edition held in 2020 in Denmark. Romania's Cristina Neagu was included in the dream team of the tournament as a left winger. In the play-offs for the World Women's Handball Championship next year, Romania will be facing Portugal, with the draw held in Ljubljana on Saturday. They will play the first leg at home on 7th or 8th April and the return match away on 11th or 12th April. The world championship due in December next year will be hosted jointly by Denmark, Norway and Sweden, whose squads will qualify automatically as host countries, alongside France, Montenegro and The Netherlands, based on their Euro 2022 results.
In fencing, Romania's women's epee team at the weekend won the Bertinetti Trophy held in the Italian city of Vercelli. The Romanian team, made up of Bianca Benea, Alexandra Predescu, Greta Vereș and Cristina Constantinescu defeated Hungary, Switzerland and Italy to win the title and Bianca Benea was awarded the Spada d'Oro prize for best fencer of the tournament.
Romania's rugby side played the last of their test matches this autumn on Saturday, when they lost nil-22 to Samoa. Last Sunday, Romania also lost 16-21 to Uruguay, having won against Chile 30-23 on 5th November. (CM)