Romania Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Pick

Romania Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Pick article feature image

BJ Cunningham, Cyriel Klitsie/Action Network. Pictured: Romania player.

Romania are back at the Euros after missing out in 2020. This is their sixth appearance at this tournament, but they have only made it to the knockout stage once.

They are lucky they got put into the easiest group in this tournament because in terms of talent, this is one of the least talented team in the entire tournament. Give them credit because they won their qualifying group over Switzerland, but they vastly over-performed to do so. Romania only have a few players playing in Europe's top five league and a style of play defensively that is simply not going to work against the top teams, so it may be an early exit for the Romanians.

Let's dive into my Romania Euro 2024 preview.

Tactical Analysis

When they have the ball, Romania are not aesthetically pleasing on the eye. In their two matches against Switzerland, they relied on a few counterattacks and took advantage of them, but otherwise they really struggled to even get the ball into the final third.

They mainly rely on transition moments to create chances, as they did average the most counterattacking shots per 90 minutes throughout qualifying, but against the better teams those shots weren’t of much quality.

When they played teams that play passively, they passing and ball circulation is incredibly slow and usually ends up with some type of long ball up to the striker. They did average 1.45 xG per 90 minutes during qualifying, but in the two matches against Switzerland they created a total of 0.79 expected goals.

When they do have possession in the final third it often leads to some type of low quality chance in the box from a bad angle or they will simply settle for a shot from outside the box. Their best offensive match came against Kosovo when they created 2.63 expected goals, but Romania were playing up a man for over half the match.

There were instances where Romania would commit to man to man high press, but it was very rare. Mainly, they played pretty passively throughout qualifying, especially against Switzerland.

They played a couple different out of possession structures in qualifying, but all of them had the same concepts. At the beginning of qualifying, they played a 5-4-1 and even sometimes a 6-3-1 against Switzerland, but they always were playing a high defensive line to try and condense the space in between the lines, while also trying to draw the opponent offsides. Switzerland took advantage of this on multiple occasions by making runs in behind to create big chances.

As they got deeper into qualifying, they switched to more of a 4-1-4-1, which allowed them to be not as condensed as before, but they were still playing a high line, which works against teams like Andorra and Kosovo, but not against elite attacking teams.

Because their structure was so passive, Romania really struggled closing down the ball when it was in their final third. Switzerland used quick combination passes in the half space and ripped Romania apart on their way to creating over four expected goals over their two meetings.


data via WyScout


In one of the easiest groups, Romania conceded 1.1 xG per 90 minutes, which is 17th in the Euro field. They have a big name in their back line in Tottenham’s Radu Drăgușin, but when they play Belgium and even Ukraine, they are likely going to struggle.

Romania also also play a high defensive line, which is incredibly dangerous against good offensive teams.

So, I love the value on Romania not to advance to the knockout stage at +125.

This bet will most likely come down to their final match against Slovakia, which is currently lined as straight pick’em on FanDuel. There is no reason why Slovakia should be a significant favorite not to advance comparatively to Romania.

In addition, since the Euro field has expanded and four third place teams go through to the round of 16, it takes three points and close to a positive goal differential to get through. Romania are likely going to have a negative goal differential going into their final match with one of the least talented attacks in the tournament.

Pick: Romania Not to Advance (+125 via FanDuel)

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