Friday, June 6, 2008

Euro 2008 Team Profiles: Romania

First thing’s first. Typically with these here Euro previews, we include a photo of some babe, because we have it under good authority that boobies equals readership. The problem is, as I recently discovered, if you enter “babe” and “Romania” into Google photos – well, the reason it’s taken me so long to finish this preview is that I’ve been holed up in my apartment looking at said photos. I knew that Eastern Europe has a sex trade problem, but WOW I didn’t realize that Eastern Europe has a sex trade problem. So, rather than try to select the least pornographic photograph available – trust me, it is an impossible task – I decided to reintroduce Goleo VI and Pille (ht to Mr. Iracane).

With that out of the way, I come here not to bury Romania but to praise them. Romania has the pleasure of being the other team drawn into the group of death along with France, Italy and the Netherlands. The thing is, this Romanian team isn’t really that bad, and they have looked decent in their warmups for the Euros (although coach Victor Piturca disagrees, but that’s his job to be a naysayer afterall). Romania has a history of shocking the world: at Euro 2000, they managed to break out of a group that included Portugal, Germany and Ingerland (yes, Ingerland really has been crap for that long). Although, since then Romania has failed to qualify for either the World Cup or Euro, so maybe this time around they'll be happy just to be there.

GK: Bogdan Lobonţ (Dinamo Bucureşti), Marius Popa (Poli 1921 Ştiinţa Timişoara), Eduard Stăncioiu (CFR Cluj)
Def: Cosmin Contra (Getafe), Răzvan Raţ (Shakhtar), Gabriel Tamaş (Auxerre), Cristian Chivu (Inter), Mirel Rădoi (Steaua Bucureşti), Cristian Săpunaru (Rapid Bucureşti), Sorin Ghionea (Steaua Bucureşti), Dorin Goian (Steaua Bucureşti), Cosmin Moţi (Dinamo Bucureşti), Ştefan Radu (Lazio)
Mid: Florentin Petre (CSKA Sofia), Paul Codrea (Siena), Răzvan Cociş (Lokomotiv Moscow), Bănel Nicoliţă (Steaua Bucureşti), Adrian Cristea (Dinamo Bucureşti), Nicolae Dică (Dinamo Bucureşti)
For: Ciprian Marica (Stuttgart), Adrian Mutu (Fiorentina), Marius Niculae (Inverness Caledonian Thistle), Daniel Niculae (Auxerre)

I’m not quite convinced that Romania can repeat Euro 2000 and make it out of their group, but they can certainly play spoiler. With the Euro competition, all it takes is a slow start to ruin a complacent squad’s chances of breaking out of the group stage. For all of their talent, we know that France, the Netherlands and even Italy are more than capable of starting tournaments slow and easy, only to be knocked out before they know what hit them. For all of their bluster about shocking the world, I’d say that an upset victory or even a hard-fought draw would mean that Euro 2008 was a success for Romania.

Could England beat this team? Yes, but this is a typically plucky upstart team from Eastern Europe that England always seems to have trouble with.
Breakout Player? Gabriel Tamaş is a tough, young central defender who scored twice on dead balls in the Euro qualifers. For a team that will rely on defense to hold the three superpowers in their group, Romania’s chances of advancing will very much rest on the shoulders of Tamaş.
Biggest Question Mark? Will it be lambs to the slaughter or will Romania be the surprise team of Euro 2008?
Worst Player? Eduard Stăncioiu was a last minute replacement and, as the third goalkeeper on the squad, he’ll have a nice view of the action from the bench.
Can this team win Euro 2008? No. A shock victory in the group stage and maybe a shock advancement to the knockout stage would be about the most Romania can hope for.
What is the squad's pre-made excuse for not winning Euro 2008? Three words – Group. Of. Death.


Mike Georger said...

pretty sure they managed to score on the dutch in qualifying, willing to bet they keep them from the knockout stages

that mascot is huggable and terrifying at the same time

The NY Kid said...

you get bonus points for including all of the accent marks on those wacky names

Spectator said...

I do hereby allocate half of my bonus points to wikipedia.