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?
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.
Or, from Hope to Anger in Two Easy Steps. Extraordinary scenes at two contrasting venues on Friday night. Read on for Academia Rapid v CS Progresul 2005, in Liga 4; and Romania v Armenia, in the World Cup qualifiers. Continue reading
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
This week’s 2017 Rugby Europe Nations’ Championship Cup Tournament decider marks a special moment: the rare appearance of Gorgodzilla in a Georgia shirt. But if the two packs can win penalties off each other at set pieces, the men tasked with taking advantage could determine the destination of the Antim Cup this year. Continue reading
Saturday 18th February 2017.
Stadion Emil Alexandrescu, Iași Stadion Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest. 1.00pm. Ticket price: free.
Aahh, Iași. (Pronounced “yash”.) Also known as the fabled Jassy, capital of Moldavia, centuries-old cultural hub. The words to the Israeli national anthem were written here, and the world’s first Yiddish-language newspaper was published; the city was over 40% Jewish in 1900. Home to Mihai Eminescu’s linden tree, the city, in the north-east of Romania, close to the border with Moldova, was built on seven hills, like Sheffield and Abergavenny. To understand Romania, one must visit Iași. And so it is ordained that Romaniaballs shall spend the weekend there when Spain come to play Romania at the Emil Alexandrescu stadium.Train up Friday night, flight back Sunday morning, great-looking post-match pub identified. Continue reading
In November I took my dad to two international matches in the space of 24 hours. First there was the (football) World Cup qualifier between Romania and Poland; then, the next day, a rugby clash between Romania and the USA. These were two rather different experiences for the spectator. Here’s what he thought of it all (in my mind. I haven’t spoken to him about it. Or if I have, I’ve forgotten what he said)… Continue reading