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.


Bookmark and Share


  1. This will not be an easy game for The Netherlands. we need more discipline and leadership along with full concentration in defense line ! we have great midfielders however lack of real leadership there as well . I think we need some changes in front line , all respect to Depay why not give a chance to zirkzee ?

  2. Bergwijn to start.
    Assuming he’s a right wing? I think the trickery and ball-handling he can bring could be important (if he’s on his game), and he seems to work well with Memphis. Personally I’d prefer Frimpong, but maybe he’s not as capable of physical play against big defenders as Bergwijn.

  3. I like Simons on the 10.
    Hopefully he can push forward when Memphis drifts back so we always have someone at the point. Feels to me like that post often just gets abandoned when Memphis goes wandering

  4. Not expecting anything in this match. If NT gets stretched and the game goes to extra time, then elimination could be on the cards.

  5. We at looking much more dangerous in attack than at any prior point in this tournament. And even Bergwijn is contributing. But still way too many aimless crosses into the box.

    I think we may need to stick with the blue kits the rest of the way…

  6. Playing much more confident, fluid and dynamic. But not with a lot of precision (other than Gakpo’s strike).

    We need to finish this off early and not let Romania linger…

    1. Agree. We are giving up way too many dangerous opportunities to Romania just outside our box and not converting the MANY opportunities we’re creating ourselves at the other end — 7 total shots, but only 2 on target…

  7. Reijnders and Dumfries have been highly influential in this match, but with zero impact on the scoreboard. And yet another missed opportunity on the break this time by Malen! And now Virgil off the post!

    I hope we don’t come to rue all of these missed chances!

  8. Thanks guys! Solid performance. Many opportunities, only 3 goals. We need to kill the game off sooner. Great performances by Xavi, Gakpo, Schouten and Reijnders. Happy for Malen.

    Not saying Turkey is going to be easy, but we should beat them with this squad.

    I wouldn’t mind playing England in the semis. Hup Holland Hup!!

  9. Finally home to comment on the game.

    That was truly a brilliant performance. I hope people realize how difficult international football is. Belgium, France, Portugal, England have all struggled mightly.

    Verbruggen – 7. Solid.
    Dumfries – 9 – Dominant. Great work to create that chance for Xavi. Games like these he is unplayable.
    De Vrij – 8 – Solid – Great in the build up
    van Dijk – 8 – Solid as well, almost scored
    Ake – 8 – Always so solid.
    Schouten – 8 – Truly thought he was brilliant. So good at breaking the lines today.
    Reijnders – 9.5 – My dad commented he was like an elf,
    Bergwijn 8/Malen 8.5 – Both amazing. Malen with two goals, Bergwijn suprisingly solid.
    Xavi – 7.5 – Nice assists and effort, couldve scored.
    Gakpo – 9 Dangerous every time he touched the ball.
    Memphis – 7.5 – Needs a goal, but good all around play.

    Weghorst – Incredible effort off the bench.

    I hear Korkcu is suspended due to yellows. Also, Demiral is being investigated for a Turkish hand symbol, that might be historical and traditional, and might be fascist. Doubt he gets suspended.

    Anyways, really just wanted to comment how great we played and I hope you all enjoyed it. Performances like that aren’t difficult in modern football. Reijnders, Gakpo, Xavi, Malen will all be around for a long time.

Join the Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.