- Romania national football team
Infobox National football team
Name = Romania
Nickname = Tricolorii (The Tricolours)
Romanian Football Federation
Coach = Flagicon|Romania
Vice Captain =
Most caps =
Top scorer =
Home Stadium =
FIFA Trigramme = ROU
FIFA Rank = 18
FIFA max = 3
FIFA max date = September 1997
FIFA min = 35
FIFA min date = August 2004
Elo Rank = 17
Elo max = 5
Elo max date = June 1990
Elo min = 42
Elo min date = 1949, 1960
pattern_la1=_rom07|pattern_b1=_shoulder stripes blue stripes|pattern_ra1=_rom07|pattern_sh1=_blue stripes|pattern_so1=_3 stripes blue
pattern_la2=_rom07|pattern_b2=_shoulder stripes blue stripes|pattern_ra2=_rom07|pattern_sh2=_blue stripes|pattern_so2=_3 stripes blue
First game = fb|Yugoslavia|kingdom 1 - 2 Romania Flagicon|Romania (
Belgrade, Yugoslavia; 8 June, 1922)
Largest win = Flagicon|Romania|1965 Romania 9 - 0 fb-rt|Finland (
Bucharest, Romania; 14 October, 1973)
Largest loss = fb|Hungary|1946 9 - 0 Romania Flagicon|Romania|1948 (
Budapest, Hungary; 6 June, 1948)
World cup apps = 7
World cup first = 1930
World cup best = Quarterfinals, 1994
Regional name = European Championship
Regional cup apps = 4
Regional cup first = 1984
Regional cup best = Quarterfinals, 2000The Romania national football team is the national football team of
Romaniaand is controlled by the Romanian Football Federation.
However, after that performance, they only qualified for 1970, 1990, 1994 and 1998 editions. Their finest hour came at the 1994 World Cup where Romania, led by
Gheorghe Hagi, reached the quarterfinals, defeating Argentina in their way before losing to Sweden on penalty shootouts.
Several temporary coaches were employed, before Moraru resumed control in August 1924, managing the side for nearly four years. Romania enjoyed some success during the 1930s; manager
Costel Rădulescutook them to the first three FIFA World Cuptournaments, a feat matched only by Brazil and Belgium and France.
World Cups in the 1930s
At the 1930 World Cup, Romania won their first match against Peru, 3-1, with goals from
Adalbert Desu, Constantin Stanciuand Nicolae Kovács, before being thrashed 4-0 by hosts and eventual winners Uruguay.
Romania qualified for the next World Cup in 1934 after beating Yugoslavia 2-1 in a repeat of their first international. At the finals, Romania played only one game in a new knock-out format, losing 2-1 to Czechoslovakia in
Trieste, Italy, with Ştefan Dobayscoring their only goal of the tournament.
Romania qualified by default for the 1938 World Cup after their qualifying playoff opponents Egypt withdrew. They suffered a shock defeat in the finals in
France, losing to minnows Cuba, who, like Romania, had only qualified due to the withdrawal of their qualifying opponents, Mexico. The first match at the Stade Chapou in Toulouseended 3-3 after extra time, but Cuba won the replay four days later 2-1.
Years in the international wilderness
Between 1938 and 1970 Romania failed to qualify for any major international tournaments.
1970 World Cup
Participation in the World Cup was finally achieved once again in 1970 in
Mexico, although qualification came on the back of a 3-0 thrashing by Portugal in Lisbonand two unconvincing draws against unfancied Greece. Angelo Niculescu's promising were given the toughest of draws, in Group 3 with holders England, giants Brazil and Czechoslovakia.
Geoff Hurstgoal gave England a narrow victory in Romania's first match at the Estadio Jaliscoin Guadalajara. Chances were improved with a 2-1 win over the Czechs. Despite going behind early to a Ladislav Petrášgoal, Romania turned it around after half-time with Alexandru Neaguand Florea Dumitrachescoring to give them two vital points. Even then, only a win over the excellent Brazilians would take them into the Quarter Finals.
There were rumours before the match that Brazil might prefer Romania to progress than World Champions England; Despite beating them 1-0 in their previous match in Guadalajara, the South American giants still viewed England as one of their biggest obstacles to tournament victory. But Brazil played some of the best football of the competition, with
Peléscoring twice and a Jairzinhogoal in between. Romania battled bravely; Dumitrache pulled the score back to 2-1 before the break and a late Emerich Dembrowskigoal made it 3-2, but they were out.
26 September 1973, under new coach Valentin Stanescu, Romania suffered a significant defeat to East Germany in Leipzig. The East Germans won 2-0 to effectively seal their first ever qualification for the World Cup, which would be held over the border in West Germany. With East Germany scoring a predictable 4-1 win in Albania, Romania were out, despite a huge 9-0 win over Finland in Bucharest.
Romania continued to suffer poor form in the
UEFA European Championship. In their qualifying group for the 1976 European Football Championship, they were out-qualified by Spain, despite an impressive 1-1 draw in the away match. Romania failed to win matches, drawing twice with Scotland and Spain and dropping points in Denmark with a dismal goalless draw.
Romania were again beat by Spain for a place in the 1978 World Cup in
Argentina. Despite a 1-0 win in Bucharest, Romania lost a bizarre match at home to Yugoslavia 6-4 having led 3-2 at half time. Spain won 1-0 in Belgradeto seal passage to South America.
Romania's sole successful qualifying campaign was for the European Championships in 1984 in
France. At the finals, Romania were drawn with regular rivals Spain, holders West Germany and dark horses Portugal. Under head coach Mircea Lucescu, an encouraging opening game in Saint-Étiennesaw them draw with the Spanish. Francisco José Carrascoopened the scoring from the penalty spot but Romania equalized before half time with a goal from Laszlo Bölöni.
Against the Germans in Lens,
Marcel Corasscored an equalizer in the first minute of the second half in response to Rudi Völler's opener, but Völler would score a winning goal. Their last match in Nanteswas a must-win match, but Nené's late winner meant Portugal progressed with Spain, who netted a dramatic late winner against West Germany at the Parc des Princesin Paris.
Romania stuttered throughout the rest of the decade, but a stronger squad at the end of the decade saw them qualify for their fifth World Cup at
Italia 90. A win over Denmark in their last match took Emerich Jenei's side to the finals for the first time in twenty years.
Gheorghe Hagi's era: the Golden Generation
Romania's squad was entirely domestic based, despite an increasing trend for the major sides in Italy and Spain buying up the best foreign talent. Midfielder
Ilie Dumitrescu, striker Florin Răducioiuand genius playmaker Gheorghe Hagi, then of Steaua Bucharest, were in the squad, but it was forward Gavril Balintwho would prove the hero in the first round.
With World Champions Argentina stunned by Cameroon in the tournament's opening match, Romania did their chances no harm with a convincing win over the USSR at the
San Nicolain Bari, with Marius Lăcătuşscoring in either half. The result was all the more impressive given the absence of Hagi. There was controversy, however, as Lăcătus's second was a penalty given for a handball by Vagiz Khidiatulinthat television replays clearly showed to be some way outside the penalty area.
Romania were the next victims of Cameroon in Bari. Cult hero
Roger Milla, 38 years of age, came on as a substitute for Emmanuel Maboang Kessackand scored twice, before Balint pulled one back. Romania needed a point in their last match against improving Argentina at the San Paoloin Naples. Pedro Monzóngave Argentina the lead after an hour, but Balint quickly equalized and Romania held on to reach Round 2.
Jack Charlton's Ireland side in Genoa, Romania didn't have the quality to break down a defensive opposition. Daniel Timoftewas the only player to miss in the penalty shoot-out- his kick saved by Packie Bonner- and Romania were out. In the process, Ireland became the smallest country ever to progress that far in a FIFA World Cup.
Euro 92 and USA 94
They were successful, though, in reaching another World Cup in the
United Statesin 1994. Despite losing in Belgium and suffering a heavy 5-2 defeat in Czechoslovakia, Romania went into their last match at Cardiff Arms Parkwith Wales needing a win to pip them to a place in the finals. Goals from Gheorghe Hagiand Dean Saundersmeant the game was finely balanced, before Wales were awarded a penalty. Paul Bodinof Swindon Townstepped up but hit the woodwork and Romania went on to win 2-1, Răducioiu's late goal proving unnecessary as Czechoslovakia dropped a point in Belgium and were knocked out.
At the finals, Romania were one of the most entertaining teams in the early stages with Hagi, Răducioiu and Dumitrescu on form. Romania beat Colombia - dark horses and
Pelé's tip for the tournament - at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in Los Angeles3-1. Răducioiu opened the scoring before Hagi scored a spectacular second from wide on the left touchline. Adolfo Valenciashredded their nerves with a headed goal just before half-time, but Romania held on and Răducioiu sealed the win with a late third.
Detroit's Pontiac Silverdome, the temperature soared due to the greenhouse effect in the indoor arena. Switzerland, acclimatized after having already played the hosts there, outran Romania in the second half and turned a 1-1 half time score into a surprising 4-1 win. Romania responded by beating the hosts 1-0 in Pasadenawith an early Dan Petrescugoal.
In Round 2 they faced Argentina, who were shorn of
Diego Maradonawho was thrown out of the tournament for taking drugs. Răducioiu, suspended, was hardly missed, as coach Anghel Iordănescupushed Dumitrescu forward to play as a striker and the player responded by scoring twice in the first twenty minutes, one a superbly subtle left foot flick from a right-wing Hagi cross slotted between the Argentine defenders. In between, Gabriel Batistutascored a penalty, but after half-time Romania netted a superb third on the counter attack, with Hagi beating goalkeeper Luis Islas. Abel Balbopulled one back, but Romania held on for a shock win.
Romania would suffer penalty heartbreak again, in the Quarter Final against Sweden. With just thirteen minutes to go, a tight match opened up as Sweden's
Thomas Brolinscored from a clever free-kick move, the ball passed outside the Romanian wall by Håkan Mildfor Brolin to smash in. Iordănescu threw caution to the wind and the returning Răducioiu found a late equalizer, again from a free-kick move but this time down to a deflection and a failure of the Swedes to clear. In extra time Răducioiu scored again after a mistake by Patrik Andersson, but Sweden then scored their own late equalizer as giant striker Kennet Anderssonclimbed above goalkeeper Florin Pruneato head home a long ball. Prunea had come in after two matches to replace Bogdan Stelea, whose confidence was shattered by the 4-1 loss to the Swiss. In the shoot-out, Dan Petrescuand Miodrag Belodedicihad their kicks saved by Thomas Ravelliand Sweden went through.
England, Romania arrived as a highly thought-of and popular team but had a nightmare. Iordănescu's side were based in the north east, with their first two games at St James' Parkin Newcastle. Against France, they lost to a Christophe Dugarryheader reminiscent of Kennet Andersson's two years earlier, beating the goalkeeper to a lofted through ball. A brilliant early solo goal by Hristo Stoichkovsaw Bulgaria knock out their neighbours, although Romania claimed they should have had a goal awarded when the ball struck the bar and bounced behind the goal-line. They finally scored in their last game, Florin Răducioiuequalizing an early goal by Spain's Javier Manjarín. Spain had to win to qualify with France at the expence of Bulgaria and did so when Guillermo Amorstooped to head a late winner. Romania exited with no points and little to cheer.
Despite a dreadful
Euro 96, Romania impressed in qualifying, finishing ten points clear of Ireland and were seeded for the final tournament of the 1998 World Cup thanks to their strong USA 94 showing. Despite being drawn in a group with England, getting through it was perceived to be easy work with a waning Colombia and minnows Tunisia. Adrian Iliescored the only goal with a fine chip in their first match against Colombia at Lyon's Stade Gerland.In Toulouse, they met an England side starting with prodigal striker Michael Owenon the bench, with Teddy Sheringhampreferred alongside Alan Shearer. A mistake by Tony Adams was punished by Viorel Moldovan, who played for Coventry City, before Owen came on to claim an equalizer. But Romania won with a wonderful late goal from Dan Petrescu, also playing in England with Chelsea, fighting off his club mate Graeme le Sauxand nutmegging goalkeeper David Seaman.
The next match was against Tunisia. Romania decided to bleach their hair before the match. Despite England v Colombia being the more decisive game, the
Stade de Francein Pariswas an 80,000 sell out and the crowd were nearly rewarded with a shock as Skander Souayahscored an early penalty to give the north Africans the lead.
Romania needed a point to win the group and, crucially, avoid Argentina in Round 2, and got it when Moldovan volleyed a late equalizer. It did them little good, however, as in the Round of 16 match at
Bordeauxagainst the Croatian team, Davor Šukerscored a twice-taken penalty in a poor match and Romania were out.
Romania were not expected to progress through a group containing Portugal, England and Germany. Hagi's powers were waning, Dumitrescu and Rǎducioiu were no longer on the scene and hopes were pinned on young
Internazionaleforward Adrian Mutu. Romania started brightly against the Germans in Liège, with Moldovan scoring from close range. A long-range Mehmet Schollequalizer meant they had to be content with a point and their position looked shaky after Costinhaheaded a last minute winner for Portugal in their second match. Emerich Jenei, back as coach, threw caution to the wind in the last match in Charleroiagainst England, a match which Romania had to win. Defender Cristian Chivu's cross went in off the post in the 22nd minute but, despite Romania dominating, England led at half-time through an Alan Shearerpenalty and a late Michael Owengoal after he rounded Bogdan Steleato score a tap-in, both in the last five minutes of the half. Romania attacked after the break and were quickly rewarded; Dorinel Munteanupunishing a poor punch from Nigel Martyn, a late replacement for the injured Seaman to equalize three minutes after the re-start. England cracked under the pressure. Unable to retain possession or pose an attacking threat, they fell deep and late on Phil Neville, playing out of position at left-back, conceded a penalty scored by Ioan Ganeain the 89th minute.
Romania's relief was tempered by tough opposition in the last eight, and Italy, who would end up seconds from being crowned European champions in an agonizing final, comfortably saw them off 2-0 in
Brussels. Francesco Tottiand Filippo Inzaghiscoring towards the end of the first half. In the 35th minute Hagi, in his final international tournament, hit the woodwork with goalkeeper Francesco Toldostranded off his line and, after the break, was magnanimously sent off for diving. Romania's tournament was over and Jenei left his job as coach again.
2000s - Near Misses
Romania failed to qualify for the next three major tournaments. They drew Slovenia, who had been surprise qualifiers for
Euro 2000in a playoff for a place in the 2002 World Cup in South Koreaand Japan. A narrow 2-1 deficit - having led through a Marius Niculaegoal - after the first leg in Ljubljanawas not irretrievable. With fans' hero Gheorghe Haginow coaching the side they were confident of getting the win they needed in Bucharestagainst the Balkanupstarts, but Slovenia took the lead before the hour through Mladen Rudonja. Right wing-back Cosmin Contraquickly equalized but Romania could not find the goal they needed to force extra time and Slovenia, with maverick manager Srečko Katanec, were in a major tournament again.
Romania were confident of qualifying for
Euro 2004in Portugal, drawn in Group 2 with seeds Denmark, Norway, Bosnia-Herzegovina and minnows Luxembourg,with Anghel Iordanescu back as their coach. Despite a good start - a 3-0 win away to Bosnia in Sarajevo, Romania stuttered. Steffen Iversen's late goal gave Norway a surprise win in Bucharestand they were stunned at home by the Danes, 5-2, with Thomas Gravesenscoring a spectacular goal from around fifty yards out, despite leading twice. They recovered slightly, completing a double over the Bosnians and getting a point in Oslo, but conceded a cutting injury time equalizer in Denmarkto draw 2-2. It was decisive, as they now required Norway to fail to win at home to Luxembourgto stand any realistic chance of qualifying. Eventually, the Danes got a point in Bosnia to scrape through a tight group, with Norway going to a play-off with Spain.
Romania were put in a massive group for the qualifying tournament for the
2006 FIFA World Cupin Germany. Holland and Czech Republic were favourite to qualify, then ranked first and second in Europe. Early wins over Finland and Macedonia were unconvincing, and they were some way behind the two leaders by the time they earned a good 2-0 home win over the Czechs. They finished third behind the Dutch and the Czechs and missed out on another major tournament.
Romania were drawn in a group with group favourites Holland and tough opponents Bulgaria for the
Euro 2008Qualifying. However on 17 October 2007, Romania became the fourth team to qualify for Euro 2008. This the team's first big championships since Euro 2000, 8 years before. Victor Piturcaalso qualified Romania for EURO 2000, only to sit back and let Emerich Jenei coach the team in the final tournament. This time,however,he stayed. It was the first time he coached a national team in the final stages of a tournament.
They were drawn in the so-called "Group of Death", with their old "friends" Holland (they played each other both in the EURO 2008 qualifying group and in the 2006 World Cup qualifying group), Italy, the current world champions and France, runners-up in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. They started with a sluggish 0-0 draw against France, favorite Italy was soundlly beaten by Holland,3-0. In their next game against Italy,
Adrian Mutu, playing for an Italian team, Fiorentina, opened the scoring early in the second half. Their lead was a very short one, as Christian Panucciscored a minute later, with the aid of a corner kick. Nearing the end of the match, Daniel Niculaeobtained a penalty for his team, Buffon saved the shot from Mutu, leaving Romania with two points and needing a win against towering Holland, who eradicated France 4-1 on the same evening. Holland beat Romania 2-0 in the final game of the group, which meant that Italy joined Holland in the quarter finals and Romania finished 3rd, ahead of France.
World Cup record
Ioan Ovidiu Sabău
* (*) - still active
Most capped players
February 12, 2007, the ten players with the most caps for Romania are:
Sport in Romania
* [http://www.romaniansoccer.ro/national_team/national_team.shtml RomanianSoccer.ro - Romanian National Team Archive]
* [http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~nfm24/football/rom.html Romania national team /details 1922-/]
* [http://www.rsssf.com/tablesr/roem-intres.html RSSSF archive of results 1922-2006]
* [http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/roem-recintlp.html RSSSF archive of most capped players and highest goalscorers]
* [http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/roem-coach-triv.html RSSSF archive of coaches 1922-1999]
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