While others prepare for the World Cup, Romania defeated Albania 1-0 after yet another mediocre performance, in the build-up for the probably easiest ever qualifying campaign for the European Championship. Still, Victor Piturca, the manager who still has a job only because the new head of the Romanian Federation refused to pay him 300.000 Euro, the price for an early termination of his contract, stated afterwards that Romania has the ability to defeat any team. Probably by boring it to death.
Piturca will also show great proud for his incredible courage of fielding the 16 years old Cristian Manea in a friendly, meaningless match, the Viitorul defender breaking a very old record about the youngest player to feature in Romania’s senior team.
The truth is, Piturca, as always, is not really keen on rebuilding this team. He sticks pretty much to the same players and he keeps on using the national team as a stage for players who really need these caps to get new contracts at club level. It’s no coincidence that 5 out of 11 starters are currently out of contract. And I also take this opportunity to present Piturca’s starting eleven vs Albania in a different key, based on club performances in the season that recently ended.
And a bit of math: average age of this starting 11 is 26.3 years. Without Manea, it’s 27.4 years!
Goalkeeper: Tatarusanu (27) – Champion with Steaua. Will probably sign with Fiorentina, as a free agent.
Right back: Manea (16) – Youngest ever player to feature in Romania’s senior team. Avoided relegation with Viitorul in the last round of the season.
Central defender: Chiriches (24) – Not so sure about his future with Tottenham, 6th in the Premier League, in spite of some bright performances.
Central defender: Grigore (27) – Won a Europa League spot with Dinamo. Will move to Toulouse, on a free transfer.
Left back: Rat (33) – Avoided relegation with Rayo Vallecano. Currently out of contract.
Defensive midfielder: Bourceanu (29) – Contribution to Steaua’s title and Trabzonspor’s Europa League spot.
Defensive midfielder: Pintilii (29) – Champion with Steaua. Wants to leave the club.
Right winger: Nicolita (29) – Average season with St. Etienne and Nantes. Currently out of contract.
Supporting striker: Chipciu (25) – Champion with Steaua.
Left winger: Maxim (23) – Avoided relegation with VfB Stuttgart.
Striker: Marica (28) – Avoided relegation with Getafe. Currently out of contract.
No worries, I also am quite sure Piturca will be able to take Romania to Euro 2016. But mostly because this one, with 24 teams at the start, will be almost impossible to miss.
Tomorrow, starting 14.00 (Bucharest time), Romania faces Italy, on Rapid’s stadium, in a match that counts for Group A of “International Challenge Trophy”, a competition dedicated to players born after 1st of January 1986.
Romania’s team was selected and will be guided by Razvan Lucescu, who failed miserably with the useless friendly against Israel, a week ago, but now has a chance to see on the pitch promising players who could be a solution for the senior team in the near future (in bold you can see who I believe to be fitting this profile).
Here is the full list:
Goalkeepers: Ciprian Tatarusanu (Steaua), Alexandru Pena (AS Roma – Primavera)
Defenders: Bogdan Straut (Poli Iasi), Sergiu Homei (Gloria Bistrita – on loan from Dinamo), Dragos Grigore (Dinamo), Cristian Sarghi (Otelul Galati), Razvan Patriche (Sportul Studentesc – second division), Alexandru Tudose (Steaua), Iasmin Latovlevici (Gloria Bistrita – on loan from FC Timisoara), Laszlo Sepsi (FC Timisoara)
Midfielders: Liviu Antal (Otelul Galati), Hristu Chiacu (FC Timisoara), Vasile Olariu (Victoria Branesti – second division), Mihai Radut (International Curtea de Arges), Mihai Onicas (Poli Iasi – on loan from Steaua), Andrei Ionescu (Poli Iasi – on loan from Steaua), Alexandru Curtean (FC Timisoara), Paul Parvulescu (Gaz Metan Medias)
Forwards: Alexandru Ionita (Rapid), Bogdan Stancu (Steaua), Alin Litu (Gaz Metan Medias), Marius Alexe (Dinamo).