I can’t take my eyes off you, Hagi

This is part 4 in a series of posts tracing the Romanian national team’s fortunes 1990-94. Click for parts 1, 2 and 3.

Wales: episode 2

Wales and the Slovakoczechs both beat Cyprus during October, meaning that, come 17 November 1993 and the last pair of fixtures, any of the four contenders can still qualify for USA ’94. The drama is spread across several of the other UEFA qualification groups too, with eight places still up for grabs on the final night. Continue reading

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The Road to ’94

Qualification for the 1994 World Cup starts early – even before Euro ‘92 has kicked off in Sweden. Romania are third seeds, drawn against Faroe Islands, Cyprus, Wales, Czechoslovakia and Belgium. Two of these teams will qualify for the finals in that magical dreamland, the USA. Continue reading

The Generation Half a Generation Before the Golden Generation

This series of posts will trace the progress of Romania’s national team through qualifying for the 1992 European Championships and for the 1994 World Cup. We will see who remains from the Italia ’90 side we left behind in my earlier article. We will see San Marino score against them. We will (eventually) see Paul Bodin. We will see how, from failure and disappointment, can emerge a brighter… But enough portentous nonsense. Continue reading

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

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