Romania drops Mutu and Pantilimon for playoffs with Greece
Striker Adrian Mutu and goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon have been dropped for Romania’s 2014 World Cup playoff against Greece, the Romanian soccer federation (FRF) said on Friday.
Coach Victor Piturca has called up 15 overseas players but decided to leave out Ajaccio’s Mutu, Romania’s all-time joint leading scorer with 35 goals in 77 internationals, as he has yet to find the net in the French league this season.
Piturca also dropped Manchester City keeper Pantilimon despite his impressive performance in their 2-0 League Cup victory over Newcastle United on Wednesday.
AS Roma keeper Bogdan Lobont, who turns 36 in January, was selected although he has yet to play for the Italian club this season.
Strikers Razvan Cocis and Marius Niculae, both playing for unheralded Ukrainian side Hoverla Uzhgorod, returned to the squad after a long absence.
Two Greece-based players, Dorin Goian and Costin Lazar, are in the squad.
Piturca will add home-based players to his squad next week for the matches at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Piraeus on November 15 and at home four days later.
Squad (foreign-based players only):
Goalkeepers: Bogdan Lobont (AS Roma)
Defenders: Dorin Goian (Asteras Tripolis), Vlad Chiriches (Tottenham Hotspur), Razvan Rat (West Ham United),
Midfielders: Costin Lazar (PAOK), Banel Nicolita (Nantes), Gabriel Torje (Espanyol), Alexandru Maxim (VfB Stuttgart)
Strikers: Razvan Cocis (Hoverla Uzhgorod), Gheorghe Bucur (Kuban Krasnodar), Gheorghe Grozav (Terek Grozny), Claudiu Keseru (Bastia), Bogdan Stancu (Genclerbirligi), Ciprian Marica (Getafe), Marius Niculae (Hoverla Uzhgorod)