Tag: Dragus

What can Oranje expect from Romania?

I’m sure we all remember the last Euros? We were headed towards the finals, we “only” had to deal with the Czechs and Denmark, right? Will Romania our Czechia this time around?

Lets look at this strong collective from Eastern Europe.

Team Manager Iordanescu Junior sums it up: working hard, is the secret. Players are supposed to give it all. Make dirty yards. Put the body on the line. Go with your man. Etc etc.

Defensively, this resulted in some solid blocking They only conceded 25 goals in 27 matches. Not bad, considering Koeman conceded 20 goals in 17 international matches.

Romania plays in a 4-1-4-1 formation and tries to keep 10 man behind the ball. Dragus is their lone striker. Romania keeps the spaces tight and their tactical discipline and their physical strength results in them being tough to beat.

The 4-1-4-1 in action (yellow = Romania)

No high press, but playing compact and drop deep to protect the box. The only time they do press high is when the opponent has a goal kick to take, for instance. When the opponent demonstrates enough skill to play out from the press, the Romanians will take the hint and sit deeper.

Romania will – like Austria – tend to push the ball to the flanks, when the opponent is in possession but they will not hunt like rabid dogs. Just contain the opponent, seems to be the mantra. They like to slow the pace down and force the opponent in their pace.

When the opponent hits high crosses into the box, Romania will deal with it. They have tall defenders and good headers. Do we attack with our wingbacks or full backs? No worries, their wingers will track back. Disciplined as they are.

If we start to play slow passes square, we are doing exactly what they want.

Lots of space for speedy runners like Frimpong or Xavi

The trick is to play balls in behind and pinpoint through balls into feet. Runs in behind will be crucial against them and as they won’t pressure the ball dramatically, players like Veerman or Blind or Ake will have time to pick the pass.

Their controlling midfielder can be overpopulated by pushing a man extra up into midfield (Geertruida? Ake?) which means we can suffocate Romania and squeeze the life out of them.

If not, they will try to suss us to sleep by playing a slow pace, chess game.

Their only striker Dragus is a hand full though. He’s tall, quick, strong and he can dribble. We will need to have our rest-defence down pat, as they will find space and time to counter attack.

Romania will try to go for the long diagonal ball and send a forward after it in space. Second ball battles, they love as well! When they do have possession high up the field, they will push 3 more players towards it to play their short game and manoeuvre themselves towards the goal.

Here you can see the diagonal ball to the corner…

Romania is unique in this way, as most nations try to combine with short passes through the centre, these days (Spain, England, Germany). We’ll need to be ready for some long balls and second ball battles.

Romania also shoots from distance a lot. They can be opportunistic when close to the opponents box. The weakness in passing is their goalie, who doesn’t have the technique modern goalies have. When pressed he will frequenly yank the ball forward and mishit it and put it out of play.

In an attacking sense, their corner kicks – taking short and swift – can be dangerous. On the other hand, they are vulnerable on the transition as their centre back prefer to stick close to the box and aren’t as agile as they should be. Their left flank is usually quite open.

You can see two attackers high and wide on the pitch, stretching the rest defence

In short, Romania doesn’t have super stars in the team but they do have a good team! Oranje needs to play with urgency and intent. Romania is risk averse and will wait compactly on mistakes by us.

I would suggest a line up with Frimpong and Gakpo on the flanks, and Simons and Memphis centrally in attack.

I’d play Geertruida as right back as he can come into the midfield. I’d also prefer De Ligt against their attackers. De Ligt is also a good cross passer and long ball passer. For midfield, Veerman and Reijnders or Schouten. Should Veerman not be up to it, Daley Blind in midfield will be an option.

I predict a 3-0 win, with Memphis, Xavi and Gakpo on the score-sheet.


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