Romania will be making their UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals debut on Tuesday and Adrian Văsâi described it as "a new beginning" for his nation.
Though Romania qualified several times for the old U16 Championship when it was a 16-team event, they have taken until the tenth new-style U17 finals to get through, becoming the 31st UEFA nation to do so. Now, in the year when Romania stage the U19 tournament, the challenge is to at least finish in the top three in their group and earn a FIFA U-17 World Cup berth in Mexico.
"It's a new beginning for Romanian football," Văsâi told UEFA.com. "We hope to carry on and qualify each year now. We now very much want to get to the World Cup."
Their campaign begins against the Czech Republic before Romania take on the Netherlands and Germany. "At this level, all we can say is that all of the teams are very strong," Văsâi said. "It is a very strong group with very strong teams. But we think we have a chance.
"We know a lot about the teams. We have played Germany and the Czech Republic recently, and we'll know a lot more about all the teams by the time we start. We drew 1-1 with Germany and last year we lost 3-1 to the Czech Republic."
Văsâi's team had the best record in the qualifying round, scoring 12 unanswered goals, with Fabian Himcinschi equalling a tournament record by managing five in the 9-0 defeat of Liechtenstein. They also impressed by beating elite round hosts Hungary 2-1 in their deciding game, goalkeeper Laurenţiu Brănescu saving a last-gasp penalty to give Romania the victory they needed, but Văsâi is not singling any individual out, saying: "We have special players but it is down to them whether they earn European success in the future."
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