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Friday, April 20, 2012

Mircea Lucescu criticises FIFA

Mircea Lucescu is really a great manager. In the last 20 years, only three managers outside of Western Europe have managed to win an European trophy. All three have won the UEFA Cup: Fatih Terim (2000 with Galatasaray), Valery Gazzaev (2005 with CSKA Moscow) and Lucescu (2009 with Shakhtar Donetsk).

He also won all sorts of league and cup titles in Romania, Italy (Serie B), Turkey and Ukraine.

He's not always right though.

Last Saturday, in an interview with Dolce Sport, he claimed the seedings have been introduced in order to have the strongest teams at the final tournaments and that before these seedings were introduced, the draws were open and anything could happen. He also said that because of the seeding, countries with a footballing tradition have the upper hand and thus it will be very difficult for Romania to qualify.

Probably long time ago there were open draws for the preliminaries, but in recent history, Europe has always used seeding and Romania were in the first pot 4 (yes, four!) times. Two of these times they failed to qualify...

1998 World Cup - FIFA Ranking (1st pot)

Qualified (1st place) from a group that had the Republic of Ireland, Lithuania, Macedonia, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

2000 EURO - UEFA NT Coefficient (1st pot)

Qualified (1st place) from a group that had Portugal, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein.

2002 World Cup - UEFA NT Coefficient (1st pot)

Didn't qualify. Finished second in a group that had Italy, Georgia, Hungary and Lithuania, then lost the play-off against Slovenia.

2004 EURO - UEFA NT Coefficient (1st pot)

Didn't qualify. Finished third in a group that had Denmark, Norway, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Luxembourg.

2006 World Cup - UEFA NT Coefficient (3rd pot)

Didn't qualify. Finished third in a group that had Netherlands, Czech Republic, Finland, Macedonia, Armenia and Andorra.

2008 EURO - UEFA NT Coefficient (2nd pot)

Qualified (1st place) from a group that had Netherlands, Bulgaria, Belarus, Albania, Slovenia and Luxembourg.

Before their final group match against Bulgaria, Romania were already qualified. Long before the match I wrote an article explaining the need to win against Bulgaria in order to be in the first po for the next preliminary draw. The article made its way to the Romanian FA, but Romania lost in Sofia. With a draw against Bulgaria and keeping the same draw order, Romania's opponents for the 2010 World Cup would have been: Norway, Switzerland, Moldova, Letonia and Luxembourg.

2010 World Cup - FIFA Ranking (2nd pot)

Finished fifth in a group that had Serbia, France, Austria, Lithuania and Faroe Islands.

2012 EURO - NEW UEFA NT Coefficient (2nd pot)

Finished third in a group that had France, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belarus, Albania and Luxembourg.

2014 World Cup - FIFA Ranking (4th pot)


After their final game in the EURO 2012 preliminaries before the draw (a 3 - 0 against Bosnia-Herzegovina), Romania went to South America with a depleted squad and lost two friendlies against Brazil and Paraguay. I wrote FRF about the need to win against Paraguay in order to climb in the third pot. However, Romania would have displaced Hungary and its group (Netherlands, Turkey, Hungary, Estonia and Andorra) wouldn't have changed.

Romania had plenty of football tradition as Mircea Lucescu calls it, but lost it. And let's remember his son, Razvan Lucescu, was in charge of Romania between 2009 and 2011.

1 comment:

  1. Seeding will likely not help you if you aren't good enough. A pot 4 standard team in pot 1 would still be unlikely to qualify, and that is what Romania have become.

    Romanian clubs in Europe is another example. They have fallen away far, despite the benefits of a high coefficient in recent years, much lke the national side. This year they had a respectable but unremarkable season though.
    and many teams have lost despite being seeded in recent years.

    A better example would be Scottish clubs in UEFA competition. The league has fallen away and many teams have been defeated despite being seeded in recent years. Had Rangers qualified for the Europa League, they'd have been in Pot 1, but lost to Malmo and Maribor.

    To a lesser extent you can see this with Bulgarian clubs too.

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