By Mihai Chiper
Ahead of this evening’s game against France, a game that will be played on Bucharest’s National Arena and that is decisive for Romania’s chances to qualify, head coach Victor Piturca is thinking only about victory, although he admits France is better.
“A draw would be good only for our sports record. We need all three points, victory is important,” the head coach stated during the press conference that followed the team’s official training session yesterday. “I hope we were able to prepare this game that is so important both for us and for the French. France’s team is more valuable, they are the favorites, but we will focus on playing well and winning the points put up for grabs. This is our goal,” he pointed out.
This evening Romania will be unable to use several important players. Apart from Adrian Mutu and Gabi Tamas, banned on disciplinary grounds, striker Gabriel Torje is suspended for an excess of yellow cards, Ovidiu Petre and Galamaz are injured and Marica is uncertain.
“Unfortunately we now have problems with our line-up just like we had in our game against Luxembourg,” the head coach stated.
Piturca underlined that Banel Nicolita, Alex Bourceanu and Cristian Sapunaru will be in the starting line-up.
With three games to go before the end of the EURO 2012 preliminaries, Romania is 4th in Group D, five points behind group leader France. Romania’s goal is to finish the group on second place, a place currently held by Bosnia. “A draw against France would be good too, but we’d have to win the other two games,” former FRF director Ionut Lupescu stated, referring to Romania’s games against Belarus and Albania. Bosnia currently totals 13 points. Bosnia would have to lose its game against France and finish its game against Belarus in a draw for Romania to climb on second place (Bosnia’s victory against Luxembourg is almost certain).
France coach Laurent Blanc faces a number of selection issues ahead of Tuesday game, but he insists his side “have improved recently” after Friday’s 2-1 victory in Albania.
A particular area of concern for Blanc is his back four, which has been broken up since Philippe Mexes suffered a serious knee injury towards the end of last season. The AC Milan stopper had started to form a valuable partnership with Adil Rami, but Blanc has had to experiment of late and was also denied Rami’s services in Tirana through suspension. “The good news ahead of the Romania game is that we have him back,” explained Blanc quoted by uefa.com. “Our defence is something that has changed a lot in recent games and that’s not good.”