In Response To "Ardean Elisei Penalty"

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A Word On

GF World Cup 

There was almost no surprise in Russia, Norway and France taking the podium in Denmark. The triplet will divide and conquer again, in Brazil.

Days after Romania’s performance, the sensitive side took over. So, I am thinking: let Amariei and Bradeanu finish the winning streak started in 1999, at another World Championship! This in no one else’s job. And stop complaining about coaching and selection making! It is the end of a magnificent chapter in our handball history, but another one, full of surprises and expectations, is about to begin. Let it be written anew, not based on mourning and insult!

Two teams caught  my attention in different ways: Germany and Denmark.

Germany does not inspire much in terms of individuals. However, the thought of a team trying to redeem itself makes it appealing. Germany has so many available players that it is impossible to decide on a player the team depends on the most. Not even Grit Jurack is indispensable. This reflects the balanced level of their internal league. Whereas Danes will talk of talent, Germans will talk of efficiency. It does not give the audience the most spectacular handball, but it creates excitement and uncertainty in regard to the final standing of a major competition.

Decimated by injuries, Denmark does not look as strong as it did last year. Their girls are mentally weak and will let go when it is the least expected. With two playmakers out, Berit Kristiansen and Laerke Møller, pivot action is lacking, as the opponents focus on Dalby, Jørgensen, Skov or Troelsen. Troelsen is not a complete shooter as she is, let alone under careful supervision. And so, a lot of responsibility falls on Rikke Skov, who is more of a team player than someone who can turn around matches. It is worrying to see that a team with such a fountain of talented young players cannot enter the arena of the grands yet.

Champions league: Day 1

We have three disputed groups:  Oltchim-Dimano-Itxako, Gyor-Metz-Randers and Viborg-Larvik-Krim are pretty decent fights of which we hardly known the winner in advance. The weakest link remaining, for Main Round, would be second place in Group A. FCM? With Laerke Møller? Maybe the ideal exception. While we are at it, I place my bets on Herbert Müller.

Next week will bring some answers to the questions we have asked until now:

1. Is the motivation really lacking in Oltchim?

2. Has anything changed in Dinamo since last year? Can they be exciting main-rounders instead of a laughing stock?

3. What is the power of Metz against a strong team? can Randers dream of making a sensation this season?

4. How decisive can Gyor’s lack of depth become?

5. Is one of the most interesting battles in Champions League, Krim-VHK, back in fashion?  

How Do You Feel, Girls?

We have survived two games at the World Cup in Denmark. Yes, survival is the word, because, as far as I’m concerned, what happened there was as tragic as life itself. Painful looks thrown at each other, lack of enthusiasm and shadows of skill turned our girls into clear targets for their frantic supporters.

“Down with Voina” – “Amariei, the old lady” – “Geiger, the lost talent” – “Bradeanu, the expired” – “Bring a new generation!” – ” No Olympics for this team!” – “Neagu, our hope!”

One could put these phrases together and write a song for all those who think they know better. I believe the selection was in accordance with FRH’s (Romanian Handball Federation) strategy for this Olympic cycle. Two months before a crucial competition is not the time for radical experimentation. In consequence, you hope your established profiles will act their part and carry the team one last time. And so they did: Elisei is still the uncrowned leader, Amariei once again plays the altruistic team mate (which could not be harder for her), Bradeanu is still the patch on every position, Farcau shows that serene ability of hers that wows us still.

I would ask them how they feel. Are they tired and disappointed? Are they thinking the cherry will fall off of the cake? Are they mad at each other or at their coach? Do they fear Brazil? I am sure their answers would silence us all and I am even surer they will hide them deep down and fight like mad for the qualification.

Cristina Neagu

This team misses one player from the EC 2010: Cristina Neagu. Her goals are, of course, important, but even more so is her spirit: “When I am on the court, I don’t think about injuries, to break nail or neck. I just want to win every game in that 60 minutes. I know that I am like a Lion. I love that. Handball is my life…” she said for Planet Handball. She brought to the game that kind of arrogance that only heroes are allowed to have. Our 2010 team was far from the best of the last 10 years. However, its fighting spirit, bursting through the cold of Denmark, brought home a medal.

Fierceness

This is what we should teach to the next generation. Teach them they have one of the most important jobs in the world; they work for 22 million individuals who, once a year,  feed their life from all that is good and noble in the game of handball! Teach them to work for that moment, knowing the reward will not come from the state, or from the government, or from the sponsors, but from the heart of plenty! Teach them to worship only themselves and the ball, but to remain humble in victory and temperate in defeat!

Results:

20.09.2011 France-Romania 30:25; Spain- Sweden 19:24; Norway-Germany 25:13; Denmark-Russia 28:31;

21.09.2011 Germany – Romania 31:29; Russia-Sweden 28:21; France-Norway 34:27; Denmark-Spain 24:30.

P.S. I will try and reflect on what is happening with other teams right now. So, it is to be continued. As you know, I am particularly intrigued by new and resurrecting teams.

Team Romania – GF World Cup 2011

Mediafax informed us today on the team Radu Voina will start preparation with:

GK: Talida Tolnai (Oltchim), Tereza Pîslaru (RK Zajekar), Denisa Dedu (Corona Braşov)

Wings: Valentina Ardean-Elisei (Oltchim), Iulia Curea (Oltchim), Ramona Farcău (Oltchim), (Oltchim) Ada Nechita (Oltchim), Magdalena Paraschiv (Jolidon Cluj)

Pivots: Oana Manea (Oltchim), Ionela Stanca (Oltchim), Florina Chintoan (Jolidon Cluj)

Back court: Adina Fiera (Oltchim), Carmen Cartaş (CSM Cetate Deva), Aurelia Brădeanu (Oltchim), Oana Chirilă (Oltchim), Mihaela Tivadar (Jolidon Cluj), Roxana Han (Oltchim), Carmen Amariei (Terom Iaşi), Melinda Geiger (Oltchim), Patricia Vizitiu (Oltchim), Amelia Busuioceanu (HCM Roman)

For comparison, here is the squad (final 17) he chose for Romania’s last friendly meet in May. The match was against Serbia. The outcome: one win, one loss.

GK: Talida Tolnai , Tereza Pâslaru

Wings: Iulia Curea, Nicoleta Dincă (Jolidon Cluj), Ramona Farcău, Ada Nechita, Magda Paraschiv

Pivots: Oana Manea, Florina Chintoan

Back court: Patricia Vizitiu, Melinda Geiger, Adina Meiroşu, Mihaela Tivadar, Ada Moldovan (Dunarea Braila), Eliza Buceschi (HCM Baia Mare), Andreea Luciana Marin (HCM Roman), Oana Alexandra Gogoriţă (SCM Craiova)

Let’s reason here!

GK: Paslaru made a statement lately in Zajecar, delivering in preparation games. The CL qualification tournament against Viborg, Rostov and Cluj can only raise her condition. Denisa Dedu (7th place at U17 Euro and 6th place at U19 Euro) will be very happy to train with the senior NT and deservedly so.  Voina is finally reconsidering his Mihaela Smedescu.

Wings:  Nicoleta Dinca was used against Serbia, while Elisei was taking a break. Iulia Curea must have “won” the competition on left wing. No chance for the currently injured Camelia Balint. On right wing, the ever lasting Farcau-Nechita-Paraschiv triplet. Depending on their health (read: Farcau’s), their lucidity (read: Nechita’s) and their mental strength (read: Paraschiv’s), two will be chosen. I place my bets on a “Nechita – Farcau” reasoning from Voina.

Pivots: As with Serbia, Stanca is called for the first preparation phase. Everyone acknowledged her retirement after Euro 2010, but Romanians are famous for their change of minds. I saw Chintoan at the Supercup, in August, and thought “What a player!”.  If she gets a fair chance, she will surprise with technique and strength.

Back court:

The defence stays the same with Bradeanu, Meirosu and Tivadar, with the addition of Carmen Amariei.

The impressive 30y  old Amelia Busuioceanu (PM) gets her much deserved invitation, just because Ada Moldovan is pregnant. As Voina “works” with only one playmaker, it will be either her or Gatzel-Han.

Why would he bring Geiger, Vizitiu and Soit to NT trainings? This is a waste of effort, putting the players he evaluates daily through the selection process. Unless he plans to bring 3 lefties to Denmark … What a laugh that will be!

Youngsters Buceschi, Gogorita and Marin were left out this time in favor of the slightly older Carmen Cartas (top scorer of the Romanian League) and in that of the experienced Carmen Amariei. This is understandable. One real left back that should not have been left out is Cristina Zamfir of Corona Brasov, Cristina Neagu’s generation team mate. The “Right back dilemma” prevents her from making the team whilst she is on the verge of becoming a top shooter of the Romanian League.

Next: could he have done more?