Post-Autumn Equinox News In Brief

My second Academia Rapid home game – again well attended, but seriously lacking in quality and notable mainly for the appearance of the much-loved 40-year-old striker Daniel Pancu, is detailed here.

Excitingly, Romaniaballs also paid a visit to second-division Metaloglobus București in far-off Pantelimon. Field notes here.

Direct your mouse pointer or index finger to the “I was here” section on the menu if you want more whimsical, inaccurate match ‘reports’. And who doesn’t?

rapid-1999-1
Rapid, 1998-99: Lobont in green; Pancu third man on his right.

In other good news for the old guys, 39-year-old Bogdan Lobonț showed the strength in depth of Romanian goalkeeping by being named in the provisional squad for the national team’s World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Denmark. “Lobby”, a former team-mate of Pancu’s at Rapid, before going on to play for Ajax and later Dinamo, won 85 caps between 1998 and 2013. He is now in his ninth season at AS Roma, where he has made the grand total of 22 competitive appearances for the club. This man, who was the oldest member of the squad when he last featured for Romania in 2013, is apparently still considered the country’s fourth-best goalkeeper four years later, despite not having played a competitive match at all during the intervening time.

The squad was selected the day before Christoph Daum’s successor as national team boss, Cosmin Contra, started work at the federation. The qualifiers, incidentally, are dead rubbers, since Romania can no longer qualify for Russia 2018. The club Contra has just left, Dinamo, have appointed Chiajna coach Vasile Miriuță to replace him; they have lost to FCSB and Chiajna in the week since then and the Pit is not a happy place. The team Miriuță coached last season, CFR Cluj, now under Dan Petrescu, are still top of the table and going strong.

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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

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