Romania surprisingly come into Euro 2016 as one of the few teams who did not taste defeat during qualification, however the group was very limited and they did only manage 5 wins in their 10 fixtures. It's still an impressive achievement to be unbeaten through any qualification phase for a major tournament and Romania could prove to be a very difficult team to beat in a group that includes the host nation, France.
The biggest asset of this side has to be their solid defensive setup. The keeper, Costel Pantilimon only picked the ball out of his net twice during qualification and looking deeper into the stats you will realise that this would be no coincidence. They limited almost every team they played to a maximum 4 shots on goal including in what could be argued the most challenging game of the campaign, away at group winners Northern Ireland and also held their own in the possession stats as they never failed to receive most of the ball in any of the games played.
The exception being the first game away at Greece where they played a high proportion of the match with 10 men and a 1-0 lead. All things considered Romania will be a hard team to get past and they will fancy their chances of progressing from a below average group.
It's doubtful many Romanians will be harbouring hopes of lifting the trophy, but they will hope that they can transfer their defensive record into tournament play and possibly progress to the last 16. Romania conceded just 2 goals in their qualifying campaign to get to France and this asset will make them a difficult team to beat. The worry is their lack of forward options and this could be evident when they play teams with quality going forward as the chance of points if Romania concede is bleak and their best hope for results is most possibly a 0-0 draw.
|Germany||1988||Did not qualify||-|
|Sweden||1992||Did not qualify||-|
|Belgium / Netherlands||2000||Quarter-finals||-|
|Portugal||2004||Did not qualify||-|
|Austria / Switzerland||2008||Group Stage||-|
|Poland / Ukraine||2012||Did not qualify||-|
There's no worthwhile tournament form to inspire much confidence, but an improved performance in qualifying for Euro 2016 means surely this side is better equipped to cope with international competition than many of their predecessors.
|10.06.16||20.00||France||2 - 1||Romania|
|11.06.16||14.00||Albania||0 - 1||Switzerland|
|15.06.16||17.00||Romania||1 - 1||Switzerland|
|15.06.16||20.00||France||2 - 0||Albania|
|19.06.16||20.00||Romania||0 - 1||Albania|
|19.06.16||20.00||Switzerland||0 - 0||France|
Romania are going to face an uphill battle as soon as they step onto the pitch for their first game in Euro 2016. They will be the pantomime villains as they face the hosts France in the first game of the tournament on 10th June and even if the French are suffering from early tournament jitters in front of their home crowd they must still fancy beating this side.
Opportunities will come though for Romania when they play minnows Albania and the other team in the group Switzerland. The Albanians will be expected to lose every game they play at Euro 2016 but may see Romania as their best chance to get a point on the board which could possibly produce a close game. The Swiss will expect to beat this Romanian side but it would be no guarantee given their defensive record so the Romanians cannot be totally written off to qualify, however it may require at least 1 big shock for them to reach the last 16.
The list above shows the 4 teams drawn in Group A and their FIFA World Ranking, as you can see, Romania weigh in at 19, the second highest ranked team in Group A, however looks can be deceiving as France are ranked 21, this is due to them qualifying automatically as host nation and not picking up any ranking points over the past couple of years.
Romania scored 11 goals during qualifying, with goals coming from all areas of the pitch. There's a good chance you'll see goals from most of the first team, a liability for this side could be the lack of a seasoned main striker which could hold them back against teams with better defences.
Bogdan Stancu, Romania's first choice striker scored twice in qualifying along with Defender Paul Papp and Midfield / Forward, Constantin Budescu. Given this, it's hard to pick a top goalscorer during Euro 2016 as no one name stands out on the team sheet.
|Constantin Budescu||27||Midfield / Forward||2|
|Raul Andrei Rusescu||27||Midfield / Forward||1|
|Ovidiu Stefan Hoban||33||Midfield||1|
Romania will face a tough group and in order to qualify they'll have to take points off either Switzerland or France. This may not look likely but with their impressive defensive record they may be able to scrape a draw in one of the two ties, if this were to come to fruition then considering they can beat Albania this would mean they would be left on 4 points and would have a chance of qualifying as part of the top 3rd place teams or 'Best Loser'.
For a defensive team a defensive player is the man to watch. At only 26, Vlad Chiriches captains the Romanian side and is undoubtedly their talisman. A bit part player for Serie A team Napoli, Chiriches excels when playing for his national team and has lead them very well in the qualifying stage, keeping their defensive record to one of the best of any team and you feel that without their captain, Romania would not be the same side.
Romania set their stall out straight away, a solid defensive unit who look to play on the counter-attack, the problem is they've not really got any pacey players apart from 26 year old winger, Gabriel Torje. This will be a problem against both Switzerland and France but might be enough to see them scrape past Albania.