The drought ends! Ianis Hagi punches Romania’s Ticket to Euro 2024! #1925

Romaina have done it ✈️ 🇩🇪

Eliot Ben-Ner
13 min readNov 20, 2023

Romania was on the verge of history Saturday night. The Euro 2024 qualifying has nearly reached its conclusion. As Romania sit in a very luxurious position. The opportunity to qualify for a major tournament for the first time in 7 years was there for the taking. A historic moment on the verge of being breached on Saturday evening. Romania ended up in a qualifying group that featured Switzerland, Israel, Kosovo, Belarus and Andorra. After two consecutive qualifying campaigns that ended with disappointment, hardship and heartbreak Romania had a chance to finally get it over the line and qualify for Euro 2024 in Germany this summer. With only two matches left in the group. Romania’s was only going to need a point to secure their place at this summer’s tournament. Switzerland and Romania both sitting with 16 points. Israel with 12 points. A defeat to Israel would put pressure on Romania them to beat Switzerland on Tuesday evening. However, one point a draw or a victory would end the drought and they would clinch their position in a major tournament once again. Edward Iordănescu’s side had everything in their favor. Since he took over in January 25th 2022. He has transformed the national side being one of the driving forces behind the possibility of Romania getting through to qualify for Euro 2024. It has been quite a heartbreaking obstacle during Euro 2020 qualifying and World Cup 2022 qualifying. In both occasions, Romania had the possibility at least to give them a shot through the playoff. However, it was Iceland that stood in the way and broke their hearts both in 2020 and 2022 qualifying. In 2020, Romania finished 4th in their qualifying group. However, due to their success in the nation’s league. They found themselves in a playoff semi-final against Iceland. They lost 2–1 as their possibility of returning to the European championships was crushed for context, the final would have been against Hungary a national side that Romania would have a chance to have beat. In World Cup qualifying 2022 they found themselves and a very difficult group. They had to share a group with Germany. The rest of the teams in the group were more than beatable. This group consisted of North Macedonia, Lichtenstein, Armenia and Iceland. To finish second in the group on the final match day, all they had to do was beat Iceland. Iceland finished near the bottom of the group and had lost Romania in the earlier fixture. Romania dominated the final match but the clock was running out on them. Ianis Hagi Hit the post in the 90th minute and Romania had to settle for a draw. North Macedonia ended up making the playoffs. They beat Italy in the semi-final before Portugal beat them in the final. In the recent history, as you see, there’s been a lot of disappointment. After that match the manager at the time resigned Romania ended up going on a long search until Edward Iordănescu was eventually appointed as the manager. He had some pedigree winning the league title with CFR Cluj but also has had experience with several teams in Romania, which is impressive considering he is a relatively young manager. The Romanian people haven’t had anything to celebrate regarding the football. The closest any of us came to celebration was the 2019 U21 European championships. Romania ended up making the semi-final they beat The Netherlands and England and nearly beat Germany to make the final. However, outside of that run a country that used to have a proud football tradition has lost its way. There was so much importance put on Romania, finally qualifying for a major tournament. While qualifying for tournaments seeing easy for the powerhouses sometimes we forget how difficult it is for everyone else. However, Romania are so close they could taste it. Romania would take on Israel in Hungary on a cold Saturday night to determine what is to follow. An opportunity to punch their ticket to Germany now would rest on Edward Iordănescu’s side lead by Ianis Hagi, Razvan Marin, and Drăgușin. The question would be would they crack under the pressure of the moment or would Romania punch their ticket? One of the most important fixtures in Romanian football was about to unravel in Hungary. A clear path on the mind, but do they get it done?

While a moment of history may sit in front of the Romanians. It’s not as if the Israelis have nothing to play for. A victory against Romania would keep them alive in qualifying for the World Cup. Romania then would have to go and beat Switzerland. Then secondly Israel as a country has been through a lot over this month. With the Israeli and Palestine conflict, reaching a breaking point. A performance for Israel could give the Israeli people something to be proud of. Romania’s biggest asset in an attacking sense is the counter. Due to these circumstances, we expected Israel to have the bulk of the possession. This sort of style worked against Switzerland and the majority of the group. Although in some games it was domination by Romania in terms of ball control. However, the Israelis started strong. They get themselves an early corner, less than a minute into the game. In the first minute Miguel Vítor drives the ball into the box the Hapoel Be’er Sheva Captain finds Eran Zahavi as the former PSV star gets his head on the end of it before driving it into the top corner as Israel take a 1-0 lead inside of a minute. Obviously considering what is on the line for Romania with qualifying potentially being confirmed this evening, it was a nightmare of a start. Romania isn’t necessarily an incredibly high scoring team now. They needed a goal just to get back into it. A draw would be sufficient but a victory is what the Romanians desire. Right back to the drawing board. Thankfully there was still going to be 89 minutes for Romania to turn it around. As it happens it didn’t take very long. Romania has been on the doorstep of qualifying for the last two tournaments Israel has not. They were still quite a quality difference despite Eran Zahavi & Augsburg’s Oscar Gloukh capable of being a difference maker. In the 10th minute, Romania managed to get on the counter attack. They had the ball in their own area before they swiftly transitioned after some impressive ball movement. Denis Drăguș takes a deep shot from distance the 24-year-old currently playing for Gaziantep F.K hit the top post the goalkeeper makes a slight touch as he’s forced to react however. George Puscas sends it into the back the net as the Genoa forward gets the much important equalizer for Romania. The equalizer was the energy booster for Romania. The momentum was back in their corner. While Israel overall was playing well, still. Romania was looking in the capitalized immediately while Israel was at their most vulnerable. In the 11th minute Rayo Vallecano fullback Andrei Rațiu takes it forward approaching the box as he dumps it off towards Empoli’s Razvan Marin The midfielder took a stab at it from distance. Unfortunately he couldn’t land it the way he would have liked Red Star Belgrade’s Omri Glazer making the necessary admission. Romania continued to seize the momentum. However, Israel still proving to be an obstacle at least for the moment. They looked good with the ball at their feet and they wanted an opportunity to capitalize. However, Romania is a more compact team that have handled themselves extremely well lately. They are unbeaten in qualifying for a reason. In the 23rd minute Romania hits the bar! Stanciu finds Denis Drăguș inside the box as he tries to lift it into the corner. However, he overdid it a little as it hits off the post and goes out. Romania nearly cash in again there. However, we saw an immediate reply from the Israelis in the 27th minute makabi Tel Aviv 20-year-old Dor Turgeman tried to find the space at the side of the box after being set up by Gloukh the Israeli youngster is denied by Rapid București goalkeeper Horațiu Moldovan has he makes it save. Horațiu Moldovan would have to be called into action yet again Not long after. In the 31st minute Gloukh took a strike on the left side in the box but he couldn’t beat Horațiu Moldovan as Israel are denied again. However, a sense of momentum is picking up for the Israelis as we approach the late stages of the first half. After Romania being put under pressure, what we saw was a late chances from Romania as they look to break through at the end of the first half. In the 37th minute George Puscas gets his foot on the end of a cross sprayed in by Marin but Glazer making the save to keep things level. Not long after the whistle blew to signal the end of the first half. Romania and Israel with a goal of piece thus far as Puscas and Zahavi with the goals.

Romania 45 minutes away from qualifying for Euro 2024. All that would be required is a point to get the job done. Israel strikes first. Romania does a great job finding the equalizer very shortly after the goal in the opening minute. Switzerland also on the verge of qualifying needing a point. Over in Basel it is goalless after 45 minutes between Switzerland and Kosovo. If Romania was to win the game and Switzerland dropped any kind of points. It would give an opportunity for the Romanians to finish top of the group which would give them a higher chance for an easier group come the summer. The first 2 minutes of the second half Reuben Vargas scores the opener in Basel against Kosovo. However, Romania still on path to qualify. The second half got underway. Romania continue to look for the winning goal. They wanted to make their presents felt early in the second half. Even without a lot of possession the Romanians was a danger, especially on the break. In the 46th minute Denis Drăguș supplied a headed pass for George Puscas He collected the ball on the side of the box before striking at the Israeli keeper Glazer get the hand to it as he makes the save. It started to slowly become a physical battle. Romania looking to qualify while Israel trying to keep their slim chances alive. In the 57th minute, Israel won a free kick just outside the area. Zahavi stepped over the ball with a magnificent opportunity to take the lead from a free kick setup in a dangerous position. However, the touch off the boot from the former PSV star left something to be desired as it glides over, not remotely challenging Moldovan. 5 minutes later, Romania’s historic moment was about to arrive coming from a historic name that the Romanians are far too familiar with. In the 62nd minute Romania have it on the attack as they get it into the box. Ianis Hagi takes an initial shot that deflects off the defender, The Deportivo Alves attacker then regains possession following through on a second shot as he drilled a low strike from just inside the box into the bottom corner. The goalkeeper couldn’t get to it! Romania take the lead!

Off the back of the son of Romania’s greatest ever Gheorghe Hagi. Ianis Hagi runs towards the Romanian supporters while putting his hand by his ear rubbing it in to the Israelis as their spot in Euro 2024 gets put on ice. Unless some crazy finish. They have wrapped up their spot. However, nevertheless, Israel was going to fight until the very end in any hopes of keeping their euro dream alive. As Romania and switzerland are now level on points. About 10 minutes later in the 73rd minute substitute and Parma attacker Mihăilă is played into the box by Empoli star Marin. Mihăilă follows through on the effort from inside the box but the goalkeeper stepping up again to make the save. The match begins to wind down but Israel continue to push. In the 81st minute Turgeman finds Zahavi as he fires from distance only for Moldovan making the fingertips save. Meanwhile, in Basel Kosovo have leveled in the 82nd minute as Muhamet Hyseni beats Sommer to level it. Then Romania are reduced to 10 men as Mihăilă is shown a straight red card for a sloppy tackle. We fast forward to the bitter end as Israel look for a late equalizer. In the 90th minute 19-year-old Idan Gorno slots a strike heading for the bottom corner but was met with the paw of Moldovan. Israel came and hit again in the 93rd minute, Miguel Victor hooked his head on the end of a Gloukh cross as it fires wide. The full time we’ll still goes Romania will take part in Euro 2024 in Germany this summer! Edward Iordănescu has gotten Romania to a major tournament for the first time in 7 years. Their World Cup drought will still have to wait, but they are back in the European championships. Once again, Romania is overcomed with emotions at the final whistle. They battled so hard to get to this moment and now it’s in moment they can bask in. Ianis Hagi the son of Romanian legend Gheorghe Hagi that lead Romania into the knockout rounds. Three straight world cups a semi-final in 1994 and a Euro quarter final in 2000. His legacy is written in Romanian culture but now his son Ianis Hagi starts to make a name for himself. The 25-year-old scores the winning goal that takes Romania to the euros. Now he will have an opportunity to wear the Romanian shirt at a major tournament. Romania have finally done it. A 2-1 victory over Israel takes Romania back to the Euro.

Romaina Wednesday evening hit a historical milestone. Romania will have a golden opportunity to test themselves against the best in Germany this summer in Euro 2024. Romania is not a nation that qualifies for every tournament. It has been particularly difficult over the last decade. They came close to qualifying for both World Cup 2022 and Euro 2020. Driven down to the wire being ended by Iceland on both occasions. There’s been a lot of changes, transitions and difficulties that followed the constant disappointment. However, Romania has finally done it. A truly symbolic moment for the country. As a Romanian myself, I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve gone on to do. From the start it was a group that Romania was going to have a good chance to qualify with. However, that’s easier said than done. These sort of challenges always seem to take a lot out of us. From a talent level, this is a stronger side than the one we took to Euro 2016. Romania should feel proud of themselves and feel confident that possibly they can ruffle some feathers in Germany. Romania is a nation with great football tradition. Made it to the round of 16 or beyond in three consecutive World cups. 1990, 1994 and 1998. Romania has since failed to make the World Cup. However, Romania still also has a year. They made it to the quarterfinals of Euro 2000. They ended up in a group of death with Portugal, Germany and England. Romania ended up finishing second in the group meeting England drawing with Germany and losing to Portugal. Gheorghe Hagi was the driving force of those teams. He is one of the top 50 greatest footballers in history. He achieved so many marks for Romania. That would be nearly impossible to duplicate. However, a true emotional moment for 25-year-old deportivo Alves star Ianis Hagi. Gheorghe Hagi is Romania’s greatest son. A beautiful moment. We witnessed Wednesday evening as Ianis scored the vital goal that sent Romania to the European championships. He one day soon we’ll wear the same shirt at a major tournament that his father wore. An opportunity to carry on a legacy with the name Hagi. Ianis won the Romanian league with his father as coach. However, this moment is even more significant. He was overcome with emotions as he broke down in tears. Following the final whistle. There’s no greater honor than representing your country. A lot of people debate what is more important club or country. It is a simple answer. When you support teams that are powerhouse houses, maybe that answer can be more conflated. However, Romania is not a powerhouse anymore and haven’t been since the 90s. Any type of success felt by the national team will always be superior to me. We don’t make tournaments when we get there. It means so much more than anything else could. These guys have worked tirelessly to make a tournament. They came close the last two opportunities. They made the semi-final of the U21 euros several years ago. They’ve all now transitioned to the first team and have been and become important. Edward Iordănescu has come in at the beginning a qualifying. It was a long search before they finally settled on Edward. He has not been beaten in Euro qualifying. They are unbeatened and as it stands, they sit top of the group. Tuesday’s match against Switzerland may not have a great deal of meaning, but it still is plenty important. A victory or a draw against Switzerland would see Romania win the group. Both countries will be at Euro 2024 but winning the group would possibly see Romania of avoid some of the more difficult oppositions in the group stage this summer. Romania finally done it. Certainly a moment most of us will not forget anytime soon. When you’re lucky enough to be from a nation that always qualifies for tournaments, qualifying can seem pointless. However, sometimes we forget how difficult it is for everyone else. Romania had to battle through so much since the Euro 2016 to arrive at this moment. None of this is easy even though it may seem so when you have a formidable nation. The key components of this side have played such a big role in Romania, finally breaking through a proud moment for Romania my country.