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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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…

romania in marseille from prosport
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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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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Those were the days

The British football monthly When Saturday Comes runs a feature in the back, where they review a season from times gone by and track what has happened since then to selected teams and individuals. I thought it would be fun to do that for the Romanian league. Let’s see if I’m right. Cast your mind back to a time when the iPhone was brand new, Avril Lavigne was a superstar, and the USA had its stupidest ever president… up to that point… Continue reading

Where are they now? Euro 2000 squad (part 1)

Euro-2000 lineup first match
Lining up before the first game: Romania v Germany. [Source: click.ro]
Although perhaps less celebrated than the 1994 World Cup side that famously beat Argentina, the Euro 2000 squad contained twelve of Romania’s twenty most capped players of all time – including the top three in Munteanu, Hagi and Popescu – as well as its joint top scorers of all time, Hagi and Mutu. But the “golden generation” Continue reading