World Cup - Piturca adds nine Steaua players to Romania squad

Romania coach Victor Piturca has added nine Steaua Bucharest players to complete his 24-man squad for World Cup qualifiers in Hungary on March 22 and in the Netherlands four days later, the domestic football federation (FRF) said on Monday.

Reuters
World Cup - Piturca adds nine Steaua players to Romania squad
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Romania coach Victor Piturca has added nine Steaua Bucharest players to complete his 24-man squad for World Cup qualifiers in Hungary on March 22 and in the Netherlands four days later, the domestic football federation (FRF) said on Monday.

Piturca named 12 home-based players, including striker Raul Rusescu, the domestic league's top scorer with 18 goals, goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu, two defenders and five midfielders from leaders Steaua.

Rusescu, 24, capped only once by the Balkan country, had recently criticised Piturca for not including him in the team, saying "they want me from all over the world but I don't play for Romania".

The much-anticipated visit to neighbours Hungary will be played behind closed doors after Hungarian fans were found guilty by FIFA of anti-Semitic behaviour during a friendly game against Israel in August.

"The match against Hungary is a battle for second place," Piturca said. "It'll be played in special conditions, without spectators and I hear some people say we're the favourites but I don't think so.

"The only small advantage of playing behind closed doors is that players will be able to hear the instructions from the bench."

Romania, who have not qualified for the World Cup finals since 1998, are third in Group D with nine points from four matches, three points behind leaders Netherlands. Hungary are second, also with nine points.

Squad :

Goalkeepers: Ciprian Tatarusanu (Steaua Bucharest), Costel Pantilimon (Manchester City), Silviu Lung (FC Astra)

Defenders: Srgian Luchin (Dinamo Bucharest), Gabriel Tamas (West Bromwich Albion), Florin Gardos (Steaua Bucharest), Vlad Chiriches (Steaua Bucharest), Dorin Goian (Spezia), Dragos Grigore (Dinamo Bucharest), Razvan Rat (Shakhtar Donetsk), Stefan Radu (Lazio)

Midfielders: Gabriel Torje (Granada), Adrian Popa (Steaua Bucharest), Mihai Pintilii (Steaua Bucharest), Alexandru Bourceanu (Steaua Bucharest), Costin Lazar (PAOK Salonika), Cristian Tanase (Steaua Bucharest), Alexandru Maxim (VfB Stuttgart), Alexandru Chipciu (Steaua Bucharest)

Forwards: Adrian Mutu (AC Ajaccio), Bogdan Stancu (Orduspor), Claudiu Keseru (Angers), Gheorghe Grozav (Petrolul Ploiesti), Raul Rusescu (Steaua Bucharest)

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