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Lobont, Cocis and Dica back in Romania’s national team

May 21, 2010 1 comment

On Monday, Razvan Lucescu will start training for a series of three friendlies: against Ukraine (29th of May), Macedonia (2nd of June) and Honduras (5th of June). Here’s the team:

Goalkeepers: Pantilimon (FC Timisoara), Bogdan Lobont (AS Roma), Silviu Lung Jr. (Universitatea Craiova)

Defenders: Maftei, Galamaz (Unirea Urziceni), Dananae (Universitatea Craiova), Tamas (WBA), Dorin Goian (Palermo), Cristian Chivu (Inter Milano), Razvan Rat (Shakthar Donetsk), Laszlo Sepsi (FC Timisoara)

Midfielders: Roman (FC Brasov), Radut (International Curtea de Arges), Radoi (Al Hilal), Florescu (FC Midtjylland), Ghioane (Dynamo Kyiv), Cocis (FC Timisoara), Tanase (Steaua), Deac (CFR Cluj)

Forwards: D. Niculae (Auxerre), Andrei Cristea (Dinamo), N. Dica (CFR Cluj), Bilasco (Unirea Urziceni), Mazilu (FC Arsenal Kyiv).

Well, a more balanced team from Lucescu Jr. this time! Only one player from Steaua, Tanase, and this one called not as a reward for his form, but more to give him credit and try to exploit his potential. One player from Dinamo as well, the only one who deserved a call-up, while Craiova, who almost paid a huge price for fielding a very young team all season long, has two players – Lung (very promising, consistent enough for his age, should play ahead of Pantilimon and Lobont, who both lack match practice!) and Dananae, a right back who just returned from a long lay-off, isnt’ at his best, but could be a solution for the future. I would have called Sapunaru, who was by far the best Romanian right back in the league in the second half of season, but I think Lucescu made some choices and, when a team looks balanced, with old players and hot prospects fighting for a place in the team in almost every position, it’s fair to keep quiet.

I like the fact that Radut gets a taste of the action, that Bilasco is finally in the team, but I wouldn’t have called N. Dica. Anyway, now that the team is decent, I am really looking forward to see if Lucescu has also some fresh tactical ideas, as I think we’re doomed if he sticks to that 4-4-2 with two defensive (or not creative enough) central midfielders, wingers keen to go back, not forward, and attackers that are too weak to count in the air, too often forced to come down for the balls, as they fail to connect with the long passes thrown behind the opposition’s defence. We’ll be playing against decent teams and I expect to see Romania working on a style that will allow this squad to lay siege on a weaker opponent, as we’re experts in defending and destroying, even when our chances are destroyed and there’s nothing left to defend…

Seto Takayuki refused Zenga’s offer!

May 21, 2010 2 comments

The japanese midfielder was among the players requested by Walter Zenga at Al Nasr, who was also looking at Steaua’s Ovidiu Petre and Timisoara’s Razvan Cocis. “Taka” declined the offer after helding talks with “L’uomo ragno”, proving once again that he’s not putting money ahead of the game. He’s definitely hoping to move to a bigger club in Romania though, with Dinamo in pole position to get his signature,  a transfer that has very big chances to go through this summer.

Round 33 – results, scorers and standings

  • Gaz Metan Medias – Unirea Alba Iulia 5-0 (Eric 39, 63, Hoban 52, Akaki 70, Dudita 75)
  • CFR Cluj – International Curtea de Arges 2-1 (Bud 32, Deac 74 / Apostu 67)
  • Gloria Bistrita – Politehnica Iasi 5-0 (Ribeiro Moraes 4, A. Muresan 12, 72, Coroian 40, Bajenaru 90 pen)
  • FC Brasov – Rapid 1-1 (Roman 26 / Sapunaru 90 pen)
  • Dinamo – Astra 3-3 (Scarlatache 10, Fl. Bratu 13, Adrian Cristea 80 / Vadrariu 30, 76, Takayuki 48)
  • Steaua – Universitatea Craiova 2-0 (Arman Karamyan 69, 78)
  • Otelul Galati – FC Vaslui 1-0 (Papp 51 o.g.)
  • Unirea Urziceni – Ceahlaul 4-0 (Bilasco 15, Frunza 38, Rusescu 53, 67)
  • Pandurii Targu Jiu – FC Timisoara 0-0

Liga I - Standings

Next Last round (22nd of May): Unirea Alba Iulia – Pandurii, Rapid – Gloria Bistrita, Universitatea Craiova – Otelul Galati, Ceahlaul – CFR Cluj, Astra Ploiesti – Gaz Metan Medias, International Curtea de Arges – Steaua, FC Timisoara – FC Brasov, FC Vaslui – Dinamo, Politehnica Iasi – Unirea Urziceni.

Andrei Cristea wins a title, but leaves a bad impression

May 11, 2010 5 comments

Andrei Cristea, Romania's top scorer

They say that a striker’s job is to score goals and I’m blaming Dinamo’s hard-working Cristea, Andrei, (the lazy one is Adrian) for taking his job too seriously? No, he deserves to be up there, battling with Kapetanos, another honest player and good professional, but the way he wants to become Romania’s top scorer at all costs reminds me of the days when Steaua or Dinamo were fixing matches just to offer one of their players the chance to shine in Europe…

Cristea scored a brace against Unirea Alba Iulia, after yet another waaay too selfish display (I’ve seen a dozen since media reports spoke about the player’s chances to move to Serie A, in the summer), and the two goals get him ahead of Kapetanos, ending, in my opinion, what has been an interesting and correct race for most of the season.

Yes, there are still two rounds to go, but we must consider that in the next round Dinamo meets its unofficial satellite club, Astra Ploiesti, (if required, Cristea could score at will) and that the Greek will miss the last game of the season, as he will join the national team for the first training camp, before the World Cup. So, congrats to Cristea for the title and good luck to Dinamo, I’m sure they’ll be able to get a few more hundred thousands Euro from the club that will eventually sign the player… Read more…

Romania U23 is, in fact, Otelul U23!

May 10, 2010 3 comments

Still Romania's national team coach, Razvan Lucescu

Razvan Lucescu has a problem. And if he has a problem, our national team has a problem. After making a bad choice when appointed – he decided to hang on to the very slim chances to qualify, instead of building a new team, based on his coaching philosophy, offering official games to the new faces and trying to integrate them into a new, fresh squad – he doesn’t know where to go from here. He realizes that he cannot fail in the campaign for Euro 2012, so he cannot start a team from scratch, with a lot of new names, young players and so on, but he’s also aware that counting on pretty much the same team that missed tournament after tournament will lead to his dismissal after the first couple of failures. So, he has just a few chances (friendly games) until the official kick off of the new campaign, to both find those new faces and also try to blend them into the national team. And he does what? Calls to the U23 nine players (out of 18!) from just one team, Otelul Galati! Wouldn’t have been a better idea to ask Otelul take a trip to Belgium and play a friendly against their U23, with Lucescu in the stands or, even better, at home, waiting for the DVD?

For those interested, here is “Romania’s U23” for tomorrow’s game against Belgium, part of the “International Challenge Trophy”:

Goalkeepers: Cezar Lungu (Steaua II), Alexandru Pena (AS Roma Primavera)

Defenders: Cornel Rapa, Samuel Cojoc, Silviu Ilie, Cristian Sarghi (Otelul Galati), Vlad Chiriches (International Curtea de Arges)

Midfielders: Liviu Antal, Ionut Neagu, Laurentiu Iorga, Razvan Ochirosii (Otelul Galati), Sorin Stratila, Alexandru Stan (Astra Ploiesti), Vasile Olariu, Viorel Nicoara (Victoria Branesti – second division)

Forwards: Mircea Axente (Otelul Galati), Mihai Radut (International Curtea de Arges), Liviu Ganea (Astra Ploiesti).

Round 32 – live

May 10, 2010 1 comment
  • International Curtea de Arges – Ceahlaul 2-0 (Apostu 15, 81)
  • Astra Ploiesti – Otelul Galati 0-3 (Giurgiu 45, Costin 60, Antal 87)
  • Unirea Alba Iulia – Dinamo 1-2 (Fl. Dan 28 / Andrei Cristea 45 pen, 69)
  • Universitatea Craiova – CFR Cluj 2-3 (Piturca 12, M. Costea 21 / Traore 63, Bud 85, Cadu 90 pen)
  • FC Timisoara – Gaz Metan Medias 0-2 (Eric 33, 83)
  • FC Vaslui – Steaua 2-1 (Burdujan 68, Papp 82 / B. Stancu 45)
  • Rapid – Pandurii Targu Jiu 1-0 (Sapunaru 86)
  • Politehnica Iasi – FC Brasov 0-0
  • Gloria Bistrita – Unirea Urziceni 0-0

Liga I - Standings

Next round (15-17 of May): Gaz Metan Medias – Unirea Alba Iulia, CFR Cluj – International Curtea de Arges, Gloria Bistrita – Politehnica Iasi, Otelul Galati – FC Vaslui, Unirea Urziceni – Ceahlaul, Steaua – Universitatea Craiova, FC Brasov – Rapid, Pandurii – FC Timisoara, Dinamo – Astra Ploiesti.

Prepare your resumes! Coaches needed in Romania

May 8, 2010 4 comments

We’re close to the end, now, but I doubt that what’s going to happen in the last three rounds will change things. I’ll explain: CFR is still the favorite to win the title, but the team struggled so badly that Mandorlini should be dismissed even in case of a successful scenario. The only team capable of winning the league seems Unirea Urziceni, so Ronny Levy should be kept at all costs for the coming season, even if Unirea will fail to defend the title won last year under Dan Petrescu. But let’s take a look at the top clubs that should/will change coaches this summer:

  • CFR Cluj – in spite of its position in the standings and the club’s chances to win the title, Mandorlini failed to connect with his players and to put his mark on a team that plays poor football for months. Period! He worked during the winter on a tactical system he had to abandon after the first official matches. He recommended three Italian players – Bottone, De Zerbi and Piccolo –  who looked completely useless. He saw top players getting out of shape – Kone, Traore – and couldn’t do anything to get them back at their best. Was lucky to draw against strong teams and simply took advantage of his superior roster to win by a small margin – the Italian style – against the smaller clubs. Although he has the backing of the board (intelligent enough to keep the staff and the players focused on the title, hiding the obvious disappointment), Mandorlini will/should not be offered another deal. Verdict: change him!
  • Unirea Urziceni – Levy did what few expected: take over from Dan Petrescu and keep what everyone still considers (in spite of everything these players have done even in the Champions League!) an average team, formed by decent, but mediocre footballers, at the top of the league with chances even to defend the title won last season. A solid coach, who tried to further develop the team, going for a more Latin/technical style, who should be kept at all costs. Levy’s problem is that next season he will probably find himself without the likes of Galamaz, Brandan, Bilasco and will be forced to show his recruiting ability, as well. Verdict: keep him! Read more…

Costly hopes to be fit for the World Cup – updated

May 7, 2010 3 comments

FC Vaslui’s draw against league leaders CFR Cluj will make the final three rounds very interesting indeed, but Porumboiu’s club suffered three big losses ahead of the clash with Steaua: Lucian Sanmartean, Wesley and Carlo Costly. Although the Hondurian centre-forward was fearing that his presence at the World Cup is in jeopardy, it seems that the ankle injury isn’t that severe, as the doctors say that he could be back to full fitness in three weeks time. Bad news for Vaslui – the player had missed only one match since his arrival, scoring four goals and showing good understanding with the club’s star player, Wesley -, but very good news for Reinaldo Rueda!

Update: Unfortunately for him, Costly will probably miss the biggest competition of all, after a scan showed a fracture in his foot and the doctors of the national team think he cannot make it back in time for South Africa.

Round 31 – results, scorers and standings

  • Ceahlaul – Universitatea Craiova 2-1 (Ibrahim 75, Cebotaru 90 / M. Costea 64)
  • Pandurii – Politehnica Iasi 1-1 (Stromajer 30 / Nuno Viveiros 90)
  • Gaz Metan Medias – Rapid 0-0
  • Steaua – Astra Ploiesti 2-0 (B. Stancu 7, Arman Karamyan 52)
  • Otelul Galati – Unirea Alba Iulia 1-0 (Salageanu 37)
  • FC Brasov – Gloria Bistrita 6-0 (Abrudan 49, C. Munteanu 64, Sburlea 67, V. Nastase 69 o.g., Chipciu 78, Hadnagy 81)
  • CFR Cluj – FC Vaslui 0-0
  • Unirea Urziceni – International Curtea de Arges 1-0 (Bilasco 77)
  • Dinamo – FC Timisoara 1-2 (M. Niculae 63 / Goga 45, Cocis 49)

Liga I - Standings

Want to bet on Romanian football?

May 4, 2010 2 comments

It’s getting close to the end and this is something I’ll probably do on a regular basis, in this blog’s second season: offering some info useful to those who are looking for winning bets.

  • Pandurii – Politehnica Iasi – these two look like relegated teams already, but there is still some hope. Surprisingly, after losing two vital points against Gaz Metan, Politehnica Iasi managed to mess up the trip to Pandurii. The players will go there by bus, not by plane! We’re talking about a 600 km trip, which in Romania should take around 10 hours. And, with just three days between the rounds, at this stage of the season, it’s definitely going to affect the visiting team.
  • Dinamo – FC Timisoara – the home team should be a bit more relaxed after Rapid’s draw away at Medias, they are pretty sure of their place in Europe next season. This should add to the huge defensive problems, where three regular starters will be missed: Molinero (right back), Moti (central defender) and Pulhac (left back). Grigore just returned after a long lay-off and will be probably paired with the average Scarlatache, while on the flanks Talnar will have to “invent” two full-backs. Be careful, though, as Dinamo never relied on its defense, so it could be better to expect only a game with goals at both ends…
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