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” which had made its first major tournament appearance at Italia ’90 was very much on the way out. There were four survivors of the 1990 squad: Hagi, Popescu, Lupescu and Stelea (Petrescu had been injured in 1990). Petrescu and Hagi had both featured in Steaua’s 1989 European Cup final defeat, and Belodedici had even played in the triumphant 1986 final, fourteen years earlier. Hagi trumps this (natch) with two appearances, as a teenager, at Euro ’84… Continue reading

The King rules OK

Last Saturday night, Viitorul sealed their first-ever league title with a 1-0 win over CFR Cluj, thanks to a second-half penalty, in front of a sell-out crowd of 4,500. Goalscorer Gabi Iancu returned to Hagi’s club last summer from Steaua/FCSB, whose 3-0 victory at home to CSU Craiova secured them the second Champions’ League spot – ahead of city rivals Dinamo, whose draw with Astra Giurgiu made no difference to their final position of third. Got that? FCSB’s Gigi Becali still believes that the League’s regulations are unclear and intends to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, in the hope of having the trophy awarded to his club. Continue reading

Emergency update!

Here is RomaniaBalls’ emergency ordinance, being pushed through at an unreasonable hour of Super Saturday morning. Gigi is the main story – as so often…

Yesterday FCSB owner Gigi Becali announced that he has combed the League’s full regulations for the competition, with a lawyer, and found that if his team and Viitorul finish level on points, then FCSB will in fact be champions! This claim runs counter to what the League have published on their own website, which states that if Viitorul win tonight they win the title no matter what. Who is right? Continue reading

Grounds for complaint

Saturday 14th January 2017 should have been a big day for Romanian club rugby. Stade Francais, champions of France in 2015, were coming to Timișoara to play a European Challenge Cup game. The hosts, Timișoara Saracens, are the best (and richest) team in the Romanian game: champions three out of the last four years. The 36-man squad for the national team, announced last week for the forthcoming Rugby Europe Championship fixtures, includes no fewer than sixteen Timișoara Saracens players.

Having qualified for the group stage of the competition by beating Calvisano home and away, the Romanian side struggled badly against the far superior opposition presented by Harlequins, Edinburgh and Stade (away). French teams have often been known for not travelling well and for not taking certain competitions seriously, and in temperatures well below zero on a difficult surface, after several days of snow, a tight-knit, powerful Romanian pack might be expected to cause problems for a second-string Parisian team. This was to be a golden opportunity for the home side to get some points on the board.

Continue reading