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05.03.2016, 14:10
Payback for the painful defeat
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PREVIEW: A raucous crowd will try to help Romania avenge their World Championship semi-final defeat against Norway when both teams meet again the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification
 

Payback for the painful defeat

It was hardly the perfect start for Romania at last year’s World Championship in Denmark. Three consecutive defeats against Spain, Norway and Russia left the team in disarray.

However, something totally un-Romanian happened between the last game of the group and the first knock-out game against 2013 world champions Brazil.

The team rallied behind Cristina Neagu and Valentina Ardean Elisei, won against Brazil and Denmark, only to fall at Norway’s hands in a hotly contested semi-final that went into extra time.

It was another painful defeat for the Romanian side, their eighth consecutive loss against the Scandinavian powerhouse.

Emulate the spirit

But there was also a silver lining even in the defeat. Romania had never shown before the team spirit and the sheer will to win a game.

It is this feeling that coach Tomas Ryde wants to emulate and keep also for the upcoming EHF EURO 2016 double-header against Norway on 9 and 13 March..

However, Ryde will have to make do without HCM Baia Mare duo Melinda Geiger and Adriana Nechita, the right side that helped Romania power to a bronze medal at Denmark 2015. Crina Pintea, Thüringer HC’s line player, was also replaced by Florina Chintoan.

Geiger is out for three months, after damaging her meniscus and the ligaments in her right knee, while Nechita has not played for Baia Mare last three games and was replaced last Thursday by Aneta Udriștoiu.

Neither Geiger nor Nechita will be able to play in Romania’s crucial Olympic qualification tournament in Aarhus which will take place from 18 to 20 March in Aarhus, featuring Romania, Denmark, Uruguay and Montenegro.

It is no secret that Romania’s main focus will be on those games, but a packed hall in Cluj, with over 7,000 raucous fans, is going to certainly help Tomas Ryde’s side not to take things lightly against Norway.

“The pressure is there on us, our fans will have much bigger expectations now. We are steadily preparing both for the games against Norway, but even more so for the tournament in Denmark,” said left wing Valentina Ardean Elisei to news.ro.

Both teams have won their first two games, against Belarus and Lithuania, clearing the path for qualifying for the final tournament in December this year in Sweden.

Romania’s squad for the EHF EURO qualifiers against Norway

Goalkeepers: Paula Ungureanu, Ionica Munteanu (both from HCM Baia Mare), Denisa Dedu (Corona Braşov)

Left wings: Valentina Ardean Elisei, Ana Maria Tănăsie (both HCM Baia Mare)

Right wings: Aneta Udriştoiu Pîrvuț (Dunărea Brăila), Laura Chiper (Corona Braşov)

Left backs: Cristina Neagu (Buducnost), Gabriela Perianu, Gabriella Szucs (both HCM Baia Mare), Bianca Tiron (Dunărea Brăila)

Centre backs: Eliza Buceschi (Thuringer HC), Luciana Marin (HCM Baia Mare), Mădălina Zamfirescu (Dunărea Brăila), Aurelia Brădeanu (CSM Bucureşti),

Right backs: Patricia Vizitiu (HCM Baia Mare), Laura Popa ("U" Alexandrion Cluj)

Line players: Oana Manea (CSM Bucureşti), Florina Chintoan ("U" Alexandrion Cluj)


TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / ts
 
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