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The Under 19 European Championship takes place in Romania. Here’s the full schedule!

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Four small villages outside Bucharest (Mogosoaia, Berceni, Chiajna and Buftea) will be hosting the Under 19 EC and this is, unfortunately, the only way Romania can “qualify” for a final tournament…

Here are the involved teams and the full schedule of games:

  • Group A: Romania, Czech Republic, Greece, Republic of Ireland
  • Group B: Serbia, Turkey, Spain, Belgium

Wednesday, 20th of July:

  • Mogosoaia, 19.00: Spain – Belgium
  • Berceni, 19.00: Serbia – Turkey
  • Chiajna, 21.00: Romania – Czech Republic
  • Buftea, 21.00: Greece – Republic of Ireland

Saturday, 23rd of July:

  • Mogosoaia, 19.00: Czech Republic – Republic of Ireland
  • Buftea, 19.00: Turkey – Belgium
  • Berceni, 21.00: Romania – Greece
  • Chiajna, 21.00: Serbia – Spain

Tuesday, 26th of July:

  • Mogosoaia, 19.00: Czech Republic – Greece
  • Berceni, 19.00: Republic of Ireland – Romania
  • Chiajna, 21.00: Turkey – Spain
  • Buftea, 21.00: Belgium – Serbia

The semifinals will take place on Friday, 29th of July: Mogosoaia, 18.45 and Chiajna, 20.45

The final will take place on Monday, 1st of August: Chiajna, 20.00

The games will be broadcasted by Eurosport, with Pro TV and Sport.ro the Romanian TV stations that bought also broadcasting rights.

 

Victor Piturca’s third spell at the national team starts now. Should we (re)start hoping?

June 14, 2011 Leave a comment

The always unhappy Piturca is back. Can he make us smile again?

He’s the last coach to have qualified with Romania at a final tournament. It happened in 2008, when Romania topped a qualifying group that included the Netherlands, with 9 wins, 2 draws and just one defeat (0-1 against Bulgaria), and travelled to the European Championship hosted by Austria and Switzerland. Interesting stat: of the 23 players selected for that tournament, only two have retired from football (Cosmin Contra and Florentin Petre), with Cristian Chivu and Mirel Radoi retiring this year from international football, but continuing their careers at club level.

Piturca, who had also a first brief spell with the NT between 1998 and 1999, wasn’t the Federation’s first choice, but Mircea Sandu failed to convince Gheorghe Hagi and had to settle for a coach who comes after two huge scandals at club level, with Steaua and the recently relegated Universitatea Craiova.

Piturca has a record of 62 games, 36 wins, 13 draws and 13 defeats, with 105 goals scored and only 46 against. He loves to play a 4-1-4-1 system, which isn’t far from what his predecessor, Razvan Lucescu, tried, but he likes to implement a possession game and determine the opposition to play a reactive game.

Romania’s joke of a national team

June 13, 2011 Leave a comment

I don’t think it really matters who is going to take over this team. And I’m starting to think that it won’t matter who is going to play for it, in the next few years. We’ve reached a point where the ability of the coach and the players’ skill stopped counting. They’d come handy, no doubt, but they won’t suffice. Not anymore. And we should stop looking for the Hagi that can score wonderful goals and start searching for the guys that feel the same way Gica used to feel when wearing the national team’s outfit. Or Dorinel Munteanu, currently teaching some anonymous football players from Otelul Galati that the matches and the league titles can be won through hard, honest work. Or Gica Popescu, the man who knew that he could help Romanian football only by taking the the Romanian Football Federation’s head.

They have something we need. Gica Hagi + Gica Popescu = love for the national team

Obviously, the sick body answered back at any attempt to inject some health: Hagi was destroyed as a man and a coach through the media hungry for any bad word that came out of Gigi Becali’s big mouth, Munteanu was labelled as a match fixer, after his first experiences as a coach, while Popescu was humiliated by a dirty voting system, controlled by Sandu, the man who definitely deserves his nickname: “The Godfather”.

What happened after the game versus Bosnia is hard to explain by anyone who has some common sense and can think beyond himself. After some harsh and, at times, undeserved criticism, lead by the other Becalis, Victor and “Giovani”, Razvan Lucescu slapped everyone in the face with the surprising 3-0 win and resigned, agreeing immediately to take over Rapid, making no effort to make this look like a random series of events.

Mircea Lucescu’s son had been planning this for a while, though, that’s why he called FC Brasov’s Cristian Oros for the first time to the national team. The centre-back was a 26 years old who is going to play for… Rapid next season. An accident?  Steaua’s Romeo Surdu (27) also earned a call-up and he will also switch teams this summer, going from Steaua to Lucescu’s next club. But this was nothing. The real blow was Lucescu’s refusal to go with the team he had selected and to the South American tournament he had asked for, one that included an extremely important game: Romania needed a win against Paraguay. Any other result would have relegated us to the fourth pot ahead of the draw for the qualifying groups to World Cup 2014, but nobody gave a damn. From the head of the Federation to the players that “love to play for the national team”.

Mircea Sandu, the chief, Ionut Lupescu, the executive president, Razvan Lucescu, the quitter, plus “the stars” Adrian Mutu, Cristian Sapunaru, Gabriel Tamas and Razvan Rat, who didn’t put the respect for the national team above their apetite for partying during the summer, simply refused to travel to South America! For us, Romanians, who watched in disbelief the 0-2 defeat against Paraguay, this shouldn’t be remembered as the tournament that saw Ronaldo play his last game for Brazil. It should be the marked as the moment when all those who could have brought back to life the national team decided to pull the plug.

They should all go away, as simple as that. Because as long as they’re still involved, we can be sure of one thing: we’ll always be here, at home, watching the European Championships and the World Cups on tv. The good thing we’re used to it by now, anyway…

Steaua had three options. Obviously, went for the fourth: Ronny Levy is the new coach!

June 10, 2011 Leave a comment

After a spell in charge of Unirea Urziceni, Ronny Levy took advantage of Mihai Stoica’s return to Steaua and received an offer he could not refuse, as he was coming after a season in which he fought to avoid relegation with Beitar Jerusalem. Now, he’s expected to be challenging for the title and get some more European exposure.

Taking over from Dan Petrescu, in January 2010, was no piece of cake, but he did a good job, deserving credit for his brave approach. Levy’s job in Urziceni was not just to fine-tune a very disciplined team that was playing a very direct game (successfully implemented in Krasnodar, as well), as he started to teach Unirea a different style, based on ball possession, which he’s expected to repeat in Bucharest, where he won’t lack quality players.

Considering the names previously linked with this position, Levy’s appointment is a surprisingly wise move, as his calm approach and focus on he job should help him cope with Becali’s invasive style, with the help of the club’s manager Mihai Stoica, whose position gained even more strength now.

“The new Hagi”? Yeah, right!

June 7, 2011 3 comments

A year ago, I wrote this about Cosmin Matei, when the kid signed for Steaua Bucharest a five years long deal. He managed to stay there for a year, which I have to rate as an unexpected performance, featuring in five games in the league and collecting some minutes in Europe, as well. Now, he was sold to Astra Ploiesti, where he agreed on another five years long deal. Knowing the coach, Tibor Selymes, he could find it even harder to play over here…

Today’s press: national team coach Razvan Lucescu resigns and signs a deal with Rapid!

June 4, 2011 1 comment
  • According to gsp.ro, Razvan Lucescu has agreed to return to Rapid, leaving the national team after the 3-0 win against Bosnia, the kind of result he had asked for, in order to stay in charge. This move was in the air for some time, with Rapid signing players that Lucescu Jr. tried to promote in the national team, like Ciprian Deac (on loan from Schalke), Iulian Apostol or Cristian Oros.
  • Laszlo Boloni, former Lens coach: “I’m interested in the position and there’s a chance for me to return as Romania’s national team coach.” Boloni is also in talks to take over at PAOK.
  • Fatih Terim was in the stands, watching Romania – Bosnia. Possible targets: Ianis Zicu and Gabriel Torje.
  • Adrian Mutu won’t travel with the team for Romania’s South American tour. His place could be taken by Dinamo’s George Tucudean, a talented player, no doubt, but who has been heavily promoted recently.
  • Petrolul Ploiesti, Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt, FC Bihor and Concordia Chiajna have promoted to Romania’s first division.

Timisoara’s case postponed until the 20th of June. UEFA asked to intervene

Thousands of Viola fans took the streets and the Romanian Football Federation refused to take the final decision yesterday. Mircea  Sandu – the president – stated that he asked UEFA’s licencing committee to intervene (which means that the information that UEFA was the one to deny the club’s access in the Champions League!) and check the documents as well as the Romanian’s calls that affect especiall FC Timisoara. A new meeting and a second attempt to either go through with it or take a step back and allow both Timisoara and Bistrita to keep their Liga I status has been scheduled on the 20th of June.

Interesting quotes:

Mircea Sandu (president of the Romanian Federation):

  • It’s a shame that Gloria Bistrita goes down for a debt of around 100.000 Euros!
  • You can’t make a dead man return from the grave (Romanian saying adjusted to Timisoara’s chances to escape this).
  • There is no way Timisoara can get the licence to play Liga I football next season.
  • UEFA has been asked to check the documents of the six clubs that initially qualified for Europe, plus those of 7th placed Gaz Metan Medias, who should play in the Europa League, after Timisoara’s exclusion.

Dumitru Dragomir (president of the Professional Football League):

  • What’s absolutely certain is that Timisoara won’t be allowed to play in the Champions League.

Viorel Duru (chief of the licencing committee):

  • UEFA’s investigation cannot change our decisions. If we were wrong, then the Federation will get a fine of around 70.000 Euros.
  • Timisoara’s chances to turn this around are zero.

Marian Iancu (FC Timisoara’s boss):

  • Timisoara’s not relegated, you’re in for a big surprise!
  • Everybody said it’s Sandu’s hand, but I refuse to believe it. I have asked for his help.

Ganea’s back! Beware!

June 3, 2011 1 comment

Almost four years ago, when playing for Poli Timisoara, Ionel Viorel Ganea was a bit upset with one of the referees, as you might have noticed in the above picture.  Retired, he took up several roles at Dinamo, but he realized that going from sporting director to manager of the reserve team and heading for a scout’s role wasn’t quite the path he imagined and Prosport revealed today that the 37 years old has decided to return on the pitch. Not in the first division, but in the fourth, playing for the mighty FC Stefanesti, a squad he decided to help both as a player and (soon to be qualified) coach.

Don’t think that the former Romanian international, who scored 19 goals in 43 appearances for his country, plans to stay long at this level! He’s been decisive in his team’s playoff match against the ambitious CS Afumati (Smoked Sporting Club, if you’re really curious what this means) and might have a shot at making it into the third tier this summer!

I wish his colleagues/players best of luck, wouldn’t recommend them to be upsetting the former Stuttgart and Wolves man! And I doubt that the team from Stefanesti will get dodgy referees from now on…

Today’s press: FC Timisoara’s fans will take the streets today and protest against the club’s relegation!

  • Tonight, at 7 pm, Timisoara’s fantastic fans will stage a protest against the recent decisions taken against the Viola outfit, who lost the Champions League spot and is on the brink of relegation all the way to the third division. They did something similar a few years ago, when the club was punished with a 6 points deduction, and it was spectacular!
  • The first player that could leave Timisoara is Laszlo Sepsi, who has filed a request to be released of his contract, as the club failed to pay him according to his negotiated deal.
  • Only 2.600 tickets are available for Romania’s game versus Bosnia, which will take place on Friday, on Rapid’s stadium, Giulesti.
  • Dinamo released keeper Emilian Dolha, but the club’s president said that coach Ioan Andone is now under contract until June 2013 and he will keep his position, in spite of all speculation.
  • Dorinel Munteanu has reached an agreement with Otelul and has signed a new two years long deal. He asked for 300.000 Euros per season, but had to settle for 200.000.
  • FC Vaslui and Rapid are trying to get George Florescu’s signature. The current (and much contested) international is out of contract and has rejected the offer received from his former club, Universitatea Cluj, saying that he wants a move abroad.
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