Maybe we're not all that doomed
but then again, we are
1) Go, of course.
2) Much more difficult question. Speaking theoretically (ignoring the though obstacles such as contracts/interest), I like Reghe
's style but didn't like his decision to go to Arabia and he had problems there.. Contra
I love and he has showed some good things but also a risk. Mircea Lucescu
is a proven veteran, question is what his style and selections will bring to us.. surely, I'd hope, better than our current situation with any of these three but still tricky to know which would be the best
for us, both short- and long-term. Even Sumudica
could be good.
Also, there's Moldovan
who are already on the team, but I'm not sure exactly how involved they've been. I'm afraid since they were already part of this team they might want to keep some things similar to what we've seen already under Tata Puiu, but who knows, maybe they were sitting back in 'background roles' and maybe didn't get to be as involved as we might hope. I did like him (Moldovan) with the youth, and he seems to understand football well enough, so who knows. Isaila had good moments with Astra but risky also.
could maybe get the results but we would all hate watching that national team play.. and who knows what he has in mind for selections either. Didn't like his attitude in some cases but he does have an amazing club track record before Arabia..
has done very well with Viitorul lately, and I think he'd be more partial to using younger players than our recent NT managers have been, but still, his past with the NT and tension with Burleanu worry me. Maybe he's learned from his mistakes and is a better manager now (he certainly is at the club level, but maybe that's because of his passion to the club and the system implemented there), but can he really replicate success with the NT? Make us happy with selections, play some logical tactics rather than bunker and long balls at times? Risky one but also one that could potentially pay great dividends.
Finally, a foreign coach
is always an option but the question is which one, and why? What can we be sure of them making the right decisions in terms of selections? If we were to do that, they would have to already have at least a small knowledge of Romanian football and a strong motivation to learn more about it without bias to any single party. Also, one that wants to play to our strengths and not get afraid in situations where we shouldn't be.. playing attacking, combinative football ideally,making the team grow, and including younger players more and giving time to deserving players in friendlies in order to integrate them for competitive matches. That's a lot to ask from many coaches these days, but I'm sure it's possible to find. Still, not the most realistic option.
, and above all Lucescu Jr
should be avoided at all costs, but you never know with Romania...
But let's relax with this one, we don't even know if Father Chicken will be leaving yet
3) Weakest positions (considering certain player situations like injuries/form/etc may change by next summer) are RB and CM/DM imo. Maybe ST and CB too, but these latter three positions can easily become much stronger with the proper selections and certain player situations changing by that time.
At RB: Matel is somewhat shaky at the moment (normal given how long he missed football thanks to the unstable Ioan Niculae), but still a much better option than Papp. Manea hopefully will be playing more with his Belgian team by next summer to earn a backup spot (I'm dreaming, I know) if Sapunaru isn't performing. Can't think of any other really decent options here for now, maybe Philp but let's get real
At CB: Chiriches, Moti, Gardos (depending on how he returns from injury), Gaman, Tosca (shaky but has showed some decent things at Steaua, again this is why we need to be testing players we're unsure of at this level..), and some younger guys maybe to be integrated like Marc and Nedelcearu (too soon I guess, but still), etc. It's not terrible, I guess. And dare I say Radu may suddenly become convinced to join the team?
At the CM/DM position, it's only very weak because of the team that our coaches call all the time.. but has significant potential with guys like Anton, Nistor, Muresan, Mateiu, even L. Filip, S. Filip, Ionita II, or Nedelcu, in addition to Lucian.
As for the strikers, having Stancu and Keseru going into the tournament is scary.. but if guys like Alibec, Andone, M. Roman (by then he may have a decent situation in Holland), Marica, even Puscas as backup, get some time in friendlies, we would be looking fairly solid here. Not to mention Budescu if we need to, but preferably he plays at CAM. CAM and the wings are some of the most deep positions we have right now IMO, just not being used properly thanks to Iordanescu and his brilliant calls + tactics (or lack thereof, rather)...
My three to call: Muresan, Anton, Stanciu
Tough call here, but I'm considering Marica and Bumba to be 'normal' players even if they didn't play much of these qualifiers. I'd also love to call F. Matei but depth was a serious consideration here.
My three to drop: Pintilii, Grigore, and Chipciu
Pintilii was worse than Hoban and Prepe, Grigore our worst CB in the main squad despite his past good moments (Qatar clearly not a place for footballers looking to play in major international tournaments), and Chipciu, well... need I explain?
5) Trying hard not to fvck this up and submit a 24-player list
Gardos/Gaman/Marc? (only if desperate bc other two aren't fit and playing poorly)
Stanciu/F. Matei (tough call here, maybe get rid of one of the bottom CM options and keep both of these instead--make this decision later based on form and fitness of CAM and CM options)
M. Roman/Puscas (depending who has the better situation in Holland/Serie B by then, either would likely be backups to the other three anyway)
Notable cuts (players who didn't make the squad but came close and could push for a spot depending on conditions): Stoian, Mateiu, L. Filip, Antal, Rotariu, F. Tanase, S. Filip, Ionita II, Paun, A. Ivan. Some maybe just too young, I know, but oh boy.. I get excited
Lucian won't be able to play a full game of course, so should be Anton/Nistor his replacement. Alibec, Stanciu, Torje, F. Matei, Vatajelu, and Andone are all players who could be nice to see featuring as well. I love Panti but based on how Tata has been consistently playing well for us and for Fiorentina, it makes sense for him to be the starter. But maybe Pantilimon will continue to be amazing despite the shite defence in front of him at Sunderland he'll get a chance in a friendly
p but I can't see Tata losing his spot. Not a position to really worry about, anyway.
6) Iorda's squad (BIT), probably same as you see now except perhaps Matel starting, Moti or Gardos maybe getting lucky and pushing out Grigore, Marica/Alibec replacing Keseru/Stancu, and a huge MAYBE with at least one of Muresan/Anton/Nistor coming in for the current CMs... Budescu also hopefully cements a starting place.
7) Done, except for the sleep part. Though I am getting drowsy in a very mellow, FML kind of way.
Worst group: Germany, Belgium, Romania, Wales.
Best group: Portugal, Italy/Russia/Swiss, Romania, Albania/Slovenia.
Edit: it appears Belgium will likely be in Pot 1. Worst would then be Germany, Austria, Romania, Wales.
Spain or France in pot 1, Poland, Ukraine, Croatia in pot 2, and Iceland or even NIR in pot 4 would be horrible draws.
Portugal, England, or Belgium would be the best out of the six from pot 1 we could hope for. In pot 2, Russia, Italy, or Switzerland could be a good draw. In pot 4, avoiding Wales and Iceland at all costs would be ideal, though other teams could cause us problems if we're still in a shitty situation by the summer.
We'll know more soon.
9) I would start Lucian in the two most important group games, or to spark creativity in the team and get some action going, get our opponent worrying a bit and giving us some confidence to attack. This could also backfire, of course, but that's football. Maxim should still try to get as many minutes as possible on the wing, and Budescu should come on in the second half replacing Stanciu or F. Matei (for example) at CAM and hitting our opponents when they're tired with his excellent executions and ideas. I'd continue alternating like this to try and find that perfect balance between using them at the best moments and in sync, while keeping them fit/rested. It's certainly something the coach should consider carefully ahead of time. Maybe by the time summer comes around, Maxim will be getting more minutes for Stuttgart and his stamina will be better.. wishful thinking, though. Lucian is the one who will likely be able to play the least amount of time given his age, so maybe we could also consider using him late instead of starting, and having Muresan--Anton/Nistor as the starting CMs (assuming of course they even get the chance to be there).
10) Which one, Ianis, his dad, or myself?
p if the latter, sure! I'll play with more passion than anyone else and I might just score a couple goals from RB like Papp did to forever cement my place in the team