Euro Qualifiers – Romania on cusp of history

Romania football (via Flikr Creative Commons).
Romania football (via Flikr Creative Commons). /

Romania are set to qualify for a major tournament for the first time in eight years, on the back of a rock-solid defence. Hungary meanwhile haven’t given up hope of qualifying, with the group providing a tense and intriguing battle ahead for the next couple of days..

Romania vs. Finland

Its eight years since Romania have last competed in the finals of a major international tournament, but under the tutelage of Anghel Iordanescu the long way seems to be over.

Indeed, Romania sit three points clear of Hungary in 2nd place, with the favourable fixtures of Finland and the Faroe Islands left to finish off their qualification campaign.

Pertinently, it is the resolute defensive capabilities of the Romanians which has kept them ahead of Hungary throughout qualification; they have extraordinarily only conceded one goal in their eight matches so far.

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Romania are unbeaten in six competitive home games (W3 D3). Romania will qualify if they get a better result than Hungary, in third, manage against the Faroe Islands.

Finland on the other hand sit in 4th place in Group F, with their chances of qualifying hanging on by a thread. The Scandinavians are now three points behind Hungary with 10 points after eight matches.

Finland’s away record in Group F reads W2 D2. Their confidence is returning after winning their two September qualifiers 1-0, against Greece and the Faroe Islands – their first two assignments under caretaker coach Markku Kanerva.

Intriguingly, both countries have  met in 11 encounters in UEFA age-group competitions, Finland’s record against Romania is W1 D3 L7.

The most recent of these was a 1-0 victory for Romania in a 2013 UEFA European Under-17 Championship qualifier staged in Albania

Finland go into the match with renewed confidence on the back of consecutive wins under caretaker boss Markku Kanerva.

However, facing a Romania side who are yet to concede a second goal in qualifying is an ominous task; one which they are likely to fail in.

Hungary vs. Romania

Hungary sit in 3rd place in Group F going into Friday’s clash, with the outcome of Friday’s match likely to play a crucial role in mapping out the eventual outcome of the intriguing group F.

Pal Dardai’s men go into the match in fine form, having won consecutive group games against Lithuania (4-0), and Finland (1-0). Nevertheless Friday poses a far sturdier test, as Romania sit at the summit of Group F with four games remaining.

While the home side may be considered underdogs for the vital game, they are not that far off; three points may be more attainable than most think.

As previously mentioned, Romania sit atop Group F; three points clear of 3rd placed Hungary. Managed by the experienced Anghel Iordanescu Romania have been in fine form throughout qualifying, winning three and drawing two of their last five games.

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Nevertheless the away side go into Friday’s game with something veering toward an injury crisis, with manager Iordanescu having to recruit striker Claudiu Bumba from the under-21 team.

Romania though should have enough to overcome their injury woes; although having not displayed the class of Gheorghe Hagi’s famous team, they have certainly impressed of late, often playing a fluid attacking game

Although the away side will be considered favourites for Friday’s match, their last game, which ended 1-1 in October 2014, indicates another tight and edgy affair could be on the cards.

The aforementioned injury concerns for Romania also skew possible predictions: the team who are named for the game won’t be of the same ilk which has been all-conquering throughout qualifying.

Whether form spanning decades holds weight is up for discussion but it is noteworthy that since both sides first met in 1972 there have been more draws (46.2%) than victories for either side.