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Iordănescu to join 100 club for Romania

Sunday's Group A match against Albania at Stade de Lyon should be a special occasion for Anghel Iordănescu, the most recognisable face in Romanian football.

Anghel Iordănescu is closing in on his 100th game on the Romania bench
Anghel Iordănescu is closing in on his 100th game on the Romania bench ©Getty Images

Sunday's Group A match against Albania at Stade de Lyon should be a special occasion for coach Anghel Iordănescu, widely regarded as the grand master of Romanian football. 

Victory would likely assure Romania of qualification for the UEFA EURO 2016 knockout stage, in what will be Iordănescu's 100th game either in sole charge or as assistant manager. 

Silver service
Now 66, Iordănescu will forever occupy a high place in his country's affections. His achievements stack up impressively: voted Romania's best coach of the 20th century, he won four domestic titles, two Romanian Cups and a European Super Cup with Steaua Bucureşti, as well as finishing runner-up in the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1989. 

As a player, he claimed 57 caps for his country, the European Cup in 1986 as player-assistant coach, two league championships and four Romanian Cups. 

The 1-1 draw with Switzerland at Parc des Princes was his 57th as head coach, one more than Victor Pițurcă, whom he replaced in autumn 2014. Of those 57 matches, Iordănescu has won 33, with 14 draws and 10 defeats, while Pițurcă won 31, drew 14 and lost 11. 

Romania's centurion
This weekend, he joins an exclusive group of 29 coaches worldwide with 100 or more games on the bench of their national teams, the leader being Óscar Tabárez with 167 for Uruguay.

Iordănescu is in his third spell at the helm. After a 5-2 defeat by Czechoslovakia in the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, he was appointed Cornel Dinu's successor and promptly took Romania to the quarter-finals in the United States, losing to Sweden. 

He followed that by steering Romania to EURO '96 in England and, two years later, last 16 of the World Cup in France. 

He then left to become Greece coach and had further stints in club football and a less successful second coming as Romania coach from 2002–04. He subsequently retired late in 2006, becoming a politician. 

However, since October 2014, he has been back doing what he loves best, in probably his final job. Iordănescu has coached all-comers, from superstars like Gheorghe Hagi and his 90s 'golden generation' to today's team of capable, hard workers.

Romania defender Răzvan Raț, himself a veteran of 113 internationals, has been in the squad since February 2002 and believes Iordănescu still has what it takes.

"I think he has changed a lot and in my opinion he's a really important figure," said Raț. "It's also a big help for him to have what I call the three musketeers as assistants: Viorel Moldovan, Ionuț Badea and Daniel Isăilă.  

"They keep him informed on everything about modern football and I think Anghel is definitely up to date with everything going on in the game. It's been of great importance to have this cohesion between him, the three assistants and all of us players together."