Even though they arrive as one of the main medal contenders at nearly every major tournament, Romania have continously missed the podium at EHF EURO events, with one exception: in 2010 taking home bronze - their first, and, so far, only medal on this European stage. Despite losing to Sweden in the semi-final, the team, led by the EHF EURO top scorer of that year Cristina Neagu, secured third spot by beating Denmark. More recently the team won another bronze when it placed third at the Women's World Championship 2015 in Denmark.
The nation's pool of skilled handball players is huge, which is proven by them being crowned youth world champions in 2014 and more top results in the past decade at younger age category events. Add to this Neagu, who has been playing at her very best in the past few seasons and was awarded IHF World Handball Player of the Year for 2015.
The team of newly appointed head coach Ambros Martin (who took over from Thomas Ryde in October) were impressive in qualification en route to the Women's EHF EURO 2016 in which they beat champions Norway but eventually ending up behind them, losing to Norway on aggregate as well as their final qualifier to Belarus.
"An 8 worth a 10", "practically unstoppable", "outstanding and absolutely brilliant" are just some of the attributes used to describe Cristina Neagu, the leader of Romania's women's national team who has been voted World Handball Player of the Year by the IHF in 2010 and 2015.
On the national team level, Neagu led Romania to bronze at the World Championship 2015 in Denmark and to bronze at the EHF EURO 2010 in Denmark and Norway. At both events she also made it into the All-star team: In 2015 she was awarded MVP and became top scorer with 63 goals; in 2010 she was named All-star left back and became the top scorer with 53 goals.
On the club level, she won the Women's EHF Champions League with Buducnost in 2015. Previously she had reached the competition's final in 2014 with Buducnost and in 2009 with Oltchim Ramnicu-Valcea.
The way Oana Manea discovered handball is not the most common one. "I started to play handball after one of my school teachers witnessed a fight I had with a boy," she remembers. "She came to me and advised me to use my energy for a greater good. I loved handball instantly."
Ever since her debut in the national team, Manea has been of the team's cornerstones in both defence and attack. She was part of the Romanian squads that won bronze at the World Championship 2015 and the EHF EURO 2010.
On the club level, she won the Women's EHF Champions League with CSM Bucuresti in 2016. In her long career, the 31-year-old also reached the EHF Champions League Final in 2010 and won the Cup Winners' Cup with Oltchim Ramnicu-Valcea in 2007.
It was one of the biggest changes at a team's helm in the lead-up to the Women's EHF EURO 2016. At the beginning of October the Romanian federation announced that Ambros Martin would take over the head coach position from Tomas Ryde.
Martin, who remains the coach of Hungarian champions Györi Audi ETO KC, is one of the most successful club coaches of the current decade, leading Györ to victory in the Women's EHF Champions League in 2013 and 2014 and to the final in 2012 and 2016.
"I did have a dream in my career: it was the chance to coach a very good national team in an Olympic cycle and train them in the Olympic Games. As a club coach, I won everything possible, I really wanted to have this chance,” said Ambros Martin at his first press conference.
However, Ryde has left him with reasonably big shoes to fill. Under his guidance Romania came third at the World Championship 2015 in Denmark.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events
|2008||FYR Macedonia||5th place|