90stalgia (part 3)

It’s 28 years ago to the day since Romania’s traumatic World Cup evening in Genoa. Here is part 3 of the story of their Italia ’90 experiences. Click here for part 1 or, alternatively, here for part 2.

AND SO IT BEGINS…

…on Saturday 9th June in Bari, at 5pm, officially in front of 42,000 people (although it looks a lot less than that on the telly). It’s the second day of the competition, and Romania face 1988 European Championship finalists, the Soviet Union. The tournament’s only match so far has yielded the biggest shock in decades: defending champions Argentina, fully equipped with their top-of-the-range Diego Maradona, going down 1-0 to outsiders Cameroon. Continue reading

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News dump

Universitatea Craiova won the cup final 2-0 against AFC Hermannstadt, in front of an impressive 30,000-strong crowd at Bucharest’s national stadium. It is Craiova’s first trophy for 23 years. (Or, if you don’t consider it to be the same club since it was re-founded in 2013, their first ever!)

Having just won the Liga 1 title, Dan Petrescu has said goodbye to CFR Cluj Continue reading

90stalgia (part 2)

28 January 1990: a friendly match at Olympique Marseille. The pre-match picture shows something unfamiliar: a national team with a sponsor’s name across the front of their shirts. Stranger still, this is the national team of an Eastern Bloc country. Something is changing…

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Romania line up before the friendly with Marseille. [Source: prosport.ro]
Brief résumé: Romania have qualified for a World Cup for the first time since 1970, by beating Denmark. One of their best players has defected. Oh, and there’s been a revolution which has deposed the dictator after a 22-year reign, so the country is on the road to freedom, democracy, unregulated privatisation, rampant consumerism, etc.

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Badger parade

As an acknowledged expert on the arcane and bewildering world of Romanian football, people often stop me in the street to ask me questions, such as “Do you speak English?” or “How do I get to the metro station?” I don’t mind; it comes with the territory. This week, I’ll address a question on the blog, and perhaps it can become a regular feature.

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Dan Petrescu celebrates with his CFR colleagues. [Source: gazetanord-vest.ro]
In the Derby of the Romanians Who English Football-Watchers Have Heard Of, last Sunday evening Dan Petrescu’s CFR Cluj held their nerve to beat Gheorghe Hagi’s Viitorul 1-0, denying second-place FCSB (who beat Astra by the same score at the same time) any chance to pip them to the Liga 1 title. With CFR taking the only Champions League spot, FCSB, Craiova and Viitorul will all go into the Europa League qualifying rounds this summer. Meanwhile next Sunday’s Romanian Cup final will pit a resurgent Universitatea Craiova, who finished third, against Liga 2 runners-up Hermannstadt. Even if the underdogs win the cup, Sibiu’s finest will have no European adventure next season since they didn’t apply for a UEFA licence.

So, today’s question comes from loyal reader G.B., of Pipera: “Why don’t Steaua ever win anything any more?”  Continue reading

Massive Faka’up

Episode 4 in the long-running and very confusing telenovela that is the 2018 Rugby Europe Championship. If the European qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup are series one of Twin Peaks, then we are now at the bit where we see Leland seeing Bob in the mirror. (I think.)*

If you don’t know what’s been going on up to this point, and you have a bit of time, I implore you to read my posts view episodes 1, 2 and 3 before continuing; otherwise what follows will mean very little.

Ready to proceed? Rather you than me…. Continue reading

90stalgia (part 1)

These things elicit a certain reaction from me, which I cannot control: Chrissy Waddle’s mullet; Platty’s last-gasp volley against Belgium; the ball ballooning off Paul Parker’s back and over Shilton’s head into the net; and, especially, Gary Lineker gesturing to the bench to “have a word”. And if you spent a lifetime striving to compose a piece of music perfectly suited to soundtracking slow-motion footage of men in short shorts glowing with sweat on hot Italian evenings, fouling each other, diving extravagantly to get each other booked, and missing important penalties, you could not do better than the lad Puccini with his smash hit aria Nessun Dorma.

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Rapid rising

Stardate: Saturday 14th April 2018. Kick-off: 7.45pm.

Venue: Arena Naţionala, Bucharest.

Competition: Liga 4 (Bucharest).

Ticket price: 25 RON (£5) for row 2 in sector 111 of Tribuna II (the east stand).


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Academia Rapid fans and their heroes

“Rapid a înviat.”

“Rapid has risen.” So said striker Daniel Pancu, in a timely Easter reference, after Saturday’s game at the Arena Naţionala. Continue reading