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31.03.2014, 11:17
After a 20-year absence Romania dream again of EHF EURO participation
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MATCH PREVIEW: Play-off double-header against Finland is the first stop on Romania's long journey towards the final tournament in Poland in 2016
 

After a 20-year absence Romania dream again of EHF EURO participation

It is almost 20 years ago – back in 1996 – that Romania last qualified for an EHF European Championship, but now the ‘tricolorii’ have set their sights on the EHF EURO 2016 which will take place in Poland.

But this bold objective includes a long journey for head coach Eliodor Voica's team, as they were among three teams ranked bottom at the end of the EHF EURO 2014 Qualification and thus have to play a play-off double-header against Finland to qualify for the second EHF EURO 2016 qualification phase.

The first game will take place in Romania on Wednesday, 2 April in Chiajna, while the return leg has been set for 5 April in Karjaa.

The winner on aggregate score will qualify for the second qualification phase that decides the fourteen teams which will go to Poland in 2016.

Head coach Eliodor Voica has nominated 20 players for this double-header. The best represented club sides are HCM Constanța and Știința Bacău, both have of five their players in the Romanian squad.

Coincidentally, these two teams were also the finalists of the Romanian Cup, which took place on 9 March and was won by Constanța, 45:44, after a dramatic game, with overtime and penalties.

However, Constanța's players are not able to join the side until Monday as the Romanian champions played a decisive match on Sunday against Chambery Savoie when they successfully qualified for quarter-finals of the Men's EHF Cup.

"We don't have a lot of time, but we have to try to find the best solutions to gel as a team. It isn't the best situation for us," explains Voica.

Judging by the experience of both teams, Romania are the clear favourites, but Eliodor Voica has challenged his players not to treat Finland just as a sparring partner.

"At this moment, Romania can't say they are definite favourites against any other team in Europe.

"We went on and played with that attitude in the World Championship qualifiers against Cyprus last year and we nearly lost."

However, Voica sees the double-header against Finland as the perfect preparation for the World Championship play-offs against Sweden, which will take place in June.

Romania's squad for the play-off game against Finland

Goalkeepers: Mihai Popescu (HCM Constanța), George Șelaru (Energia Pandurii Târgu Jiu), Darius Makaria (Dinamo București)

Wings: Gabriel Florea (CSA Steaua București), Alexandru Asoltanei (Energia Pandurii Târgu Jiu), Flavius Cîmpan (Potaissa Turda), Andrei Mihalcea (HC Odorhei)

Back court players: Bogdan Criciotoiu, Alexandru Șimicu, Alexandru Csepreghi (all from HCM Constanța), Florin Acatrinei (Energia Pandurii Târgu Jiu), Cristian Ghiță, Ionuț Rotaru, Cristian Fenici, Ionuț Ramba (all from Știința Bacău), Dan Racoțea (CSM București), Ciprian Șandru (Dinamo București)

Line players: Albert Cristescu (HCM Constanța), Dragoș Iancu (Știința Bacău), Huba Talas (HC Odorhei)


TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / ts
 
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