Romania meet Spain in a European Championship qualification match, as they meet in Group F on Thursday, kicking off at 8:45pm local time in Bucharest. Both teams will be hosting some matches at the European Championships next summer, and whilst Spain will expect to advance anyway, Romania will see it as an extra incentive to make sure themselves are there, too.
Home Team: Romania
Romania were a team feared all across the world in previous decades, but their national team has been poor in recent years. They have failed to qualify for a World Cup since the 1990’s, and have been knocked out of the group stage in the 2008 and 2016 European Championships – their only qualification successes since 2000. As Bucharest is a hosting nation for next summer’s showcase tournament, Romania will want to be the team to be playing there, but find themselves in a difficult group alongside Spain, Sweden and Norway. Romania currently sit in 2nd place, with 7 points out of a possible 12. An opening match day loss to Sweden didn’t dishearten them too much, as they have followed up with wins against Faroe Islands, Malta, and a credible draw in Norway. If Romania are to qualify, they may need to get points in games no one expects them to, such as this clash with Spain on Saturday. Do they have what it takes?[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]
Away Team: Spain
Spain already have one foot in the European Championships next summer, a tournament they are desperate to win again after relinquishing their title to Portugal in 2016. Manager Luis Enrique has revitalised the Spanish team following their poor World Cup campaign, despite narrowly missing out on the UEFA Nations Finals. In the qualification for this championship, they have won four matches out of four, and look to be edging back to their best. Home wins against Scandinavian teams Norway and Sweden, as well as routine away victories against Malta and Faroe Islands, have put them in control of the group on 12 points. It’s fair to say that this could be their trickiest fixture so far, but if they come through it with a victory, they’ll have qualified with four games to spare.
Head to Head
Surprisingly, Romania have an equal record with Spain in their head to head record. In the 16 previous meetings, both Spain and Romania have recorded five victories apiece. What is perhaps more surprising, is that Spain haven’t beaten Romania in their last three meetings, with their last winning coming against them way back in 1996 at the European Championships in England. Their last competitive meeting in Romania was back in 1987, which the hosts won 3-1 in a European Championship qualifier. Their only recent meeting was back in 2016, with the game finishing 0-0 in Bucharest.
My Predictions and Betting Tips
Romania are at 13/2 to pull off a major shock here, with Spain priced at 4/9 favourites. For Romania to get a credible draw, that is at 10/3. The home fans will be up for this huge clash, but Spain looked to be in scintillating form, and back them against them at your peril.
It won’t be an easy win, but I expect Spain to win here via a 2-1 score line at 15/2. For goal scorers, George Pușcaș of Romania looks a promising prospect and is at 11/8 to score at any time. For the visitors, you’d be wise backing Valencia striker Rodrigo to score at 11/10. To boost earnings on a Spanish victory, you can back them to score 3+ goals at 15/8, win to nil at 5/4 or win both halves at 21/10.
Finally, if you believe Romania can stretch their unbeaten run against Spain, you can back them to avoid defeat in a double chance at 13/8, or for the tipsters, back them to win to 2-0 at 40/1.[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]