Anghel Iordanescu revelled in Romania’s Euro 2016 berth but lamented the fact his team did not book their spot in France earlier.
After four consecutive draws, unbeaten Romania finally qualified for next year’s European Championships with a 3-0 Group I win over the Faroe Islands on Sunday.
Goalless stalemates against Northern Ireland, Hungary and Greece, and a 1-1 draw at home to Finland, threatened to derail Romania as pressure mounted on the Euro 2000 quarter-finalists.
But Constantin Budescu’s brace and Alexandru Maxim’s late goal ensured Romania finished second behind group winners Northern Ireland, much to the relief of Iordanescu.
“This victory is in a big way a victory by our fans. I’m so sorry about what happened in Bucharest against Finland,” Iordanescu said via UEFA.com.
“We approached the match in an attacking manner, but the ball simply was stubborn and did not want to go in.
“We deserve qualification and my only regret is that we should have achieved it earlier. I hope this qualification will generate changes in Romanian football because we need them.”
Romania will now return to the pinnacle of European football after failing to qualify for Euro 2012.
Sunday’s result is also an added boost, given Romania have not competed at the World Cup since 1998.
“I cannot describe how happy we are. Our joy is unbounded,” said captain Razvan Rat.
“There was pressure, but at the moment of truth you prove you are the sort of team that can cope with this pressure.
“There isn’t any bigger motivation than the one of being present at a final tournament.”