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04.04.2016, 12:16
Handball history tells Romania to remain cautious ahead of Israel games
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PREVIEW: Having to cope with numerous absences, selecting the team for the EHF EURO 2018 play-offs against Israel has not been easy for Romania head coach Aihan Omer – and the game itself will not be a walk in the park either
 

Handball history tells Romania to remain cautious ahead of Israel games

While Romania’s women’s national team won bronze at the World Championship in December and qualified for the Olympic Games, the men’s team has not qualified for a major tournament since the World Championship 2011.

Appointing Aihan Omer as head coach – Omer had been at the helm of Romania’s men’s national team already in the past – in October 2014 was intended to turn things around, however major success is still eluding the team.

The 'tricolorii' failed to progress to the World Championship 2017 Play-offs after finishing second in a group with Austria, Italy and Finland; albeit it was only the away goals-rule that saw Austria finish first, after Romania beat them 32:29 but had lost previously 27:24 at Austria.

The next challenge for the team now waits on 6 and 10 April when Romania faces Israel in the intermediate play-offs of the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification, and the pressure is on as progressing to the main qualification phase is seen as a must.

Careful approach

However, the problems seem to be mounting for the Romanian side.

The most important absence is Alexandru Șimicu, who has not played for the team for nearly two years.

Missing the powerful left back, who has scored 17 goals for Saint-Raphael Var Handball in the EHF Cup this season, is a huge blow for the Romanian side, in particular as Omer will furthermore not be able to count on Orlen Wisla Plock left back Dan Racoțea. Another absence will be right back Bogdan Criciotoiu from second German Bundesliga team TSG Friesenheim.

Therefore it came to no surprise that Omer counted on several experienced players such as Dragoș Oprea, Florin Dospinescu and Mihai Rohozneanu to pass the mark against Israel.

While the first match will be played in Tel Aviv on 6 April, Omer expects a packed hall in Călărași (Saturday 10 April) for the second leg as he also coaches the local team, HC Dunărea.

But Romania’s approach has been a careful one. The team had a tough game four years ago against Israel in the first phase of the EHF EURO 2014 Qualification.

While Israel led 12:10 at the break, Romania staged a comeback and eventually won 26:25.

Romania’s roster for the EHF EURO 2018 play-offs against Israel

Goalkeepers: Mihai Popescu (St. Raphael), Dan Irimuş (Dinamo), Ionuț Iancu (CSM Bucureşti)

Right wings: Valentin Ghionea (Wisla Plock), Andrei Mihalcea (Odorhei)

Right backs: Marius Sadoveac (Minaur Baia Mare), Demis Grigoraş (Poli Timişoara), Ionuț Georgescu (Steaua)

Centre backs: Alexandru Csepreghi (Creteil), Cristian Fenici (Poli Timişoara), Mihai Rohozneanu (HC Adrian Petrea Reşiţa)

Left backs: Florin Ramba (Lemgo), Ciprian Şandru (Dinamo)

Left wings: Dragoș Oprea (TuS Fendorf), Nicușor Negru (CSM Bucureşti), Florin Dospinescu (Reşiţa)

Line players: Marius Novanc (CSM Bucureşti), Dan Savenco (Dinamo)


TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / ts
 
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