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

Jukebox Durie and a Saxon warrior

[Click here for the previous part of this story.]

By the time Romania play again, it’s October 1991 and they are being left behind in the group table. Half of their team have already moved clubs once more. My brother-in-law has seen the Blue Aeroplanes play the Reading Festival. And would it be impolite to mention that the Jiu Valley miners have been tearing up Bucharest again? 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.

Continue reading