In Paris, today (7:00 p.m., AntenaPLAY and UEFA TV platforms), the Nations League groups will be drawn, a competition in which we reached among “Dwarves” of the continent, in “C”. Even so, the competition has a double stake for us.
Ianis Hagi will watch the draw, although his future at the national team is uncertain at the moment
The spectacular qualification for Euro 2024 (Germany, June 14 – July 14) had the effect of an anesthetic for Romanian football, which is seriously ill.
This important success made us, at least for a while, forget about the very low level we have reached in international football. That is why today's draw for the 2024-25 edition of the Nations League groups comes as a “palm” which reminds us that, at least in this competition, we are among “Dwarves” the continent. And we arrived here because of a catastrophic course in the 2022-2023 edition, the one that marked the official debut of Edward Iordănescu (45 years old) on the bench of the first representative team. Then, I havesuccessful” to be last in a group with Bosnia, Finland and Montenegro! And we recorded some incredible setbacks, such as 0-2 against Montenegro away, 0-1 against Bosnia at this team's ground and a mind-blowing 0-3 against Montenegro, this time at home at the Rapid Stadium! Attention: this course came in a campaign in which the objective assumed by the federation and the selector was promotion to League A! To play with the giants of the continent, as the president Răzvan Burleanu (39 years old) said.
The failure of the 2022-2023 edition of the Nations League, however, had its good sides. As the same Răzvan Burleanu said, reaching “C”, we are in the company of formations that we have nothing to fear. Which is seen when we take a look at the value ballots of today's draw. With the exception of Sweden, which we have no way of losing, given that it is in the same box as us, the rest of the Nations League C includes some extremely weak teams. In fact, only Romania and Slovakia, located in this division, qualified for Euro 2024, being even group mates at the final tournament in Germany. Estonia and Luxembourg, also in League C, can also qualify for Euro 2024 if they make it past the play-offs in March.
“Lifebuoy” for the World Cup
Another advantage of being in League C is that regardless of how our group looks, we can hope for 1st place. If we were to do a simulation, before today's draw, we can have the following options:
*Heavy group: Romania, Kosovo, Slovakia, Estonia
*Intermediate difficulty group: Romania, Azerbaijan, North Macedonia, Belarus
*Light group: Romania, Faroe Islands, Cyprus, Latvia
Either way, we'd have a good shot at No. 1. And if we could win the series, then we'd get two big advantages. First of all, we will promote to League B, 2026-2027 edition. With the specification that, including a ranking in 2nd place, it would send us to the barrier for promotion to League B. However, the main stake remains the first place in the group of which we will be a part. Because this performance would become a “lifeline” for us in order to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.
At the next edition of the World Cup, Europe will have 16 teams. 12 of them will qualify through the traditional preliminaries, winning 1st place in the group. 4 other teams will get the tickets for USA, Mexico and Canada through play-off matches. And the following teams will arrive here:
*12 national teams that will finish the World Cup preliminaries in 2nd place in their groups.
*The top 4 group winners from the Nations League who will not finish in one of the top two positions in their groups in the 2026 WC qualifiers.
From here, a total of 16 teams result. Who will contest the play-offs for the 2026 World Cup in which the last four places for Europe will be contested.
Heavy loss: Edward Iordănescu
At the last draws, those for the Euro 2024 preliminaries and then for the final tournament in Germany, Romania benefited fully from the proverbial luck of the Iordănescu family. Each time, with the current coach present in the room, the national team fell in a very good group. In the Euro 2024 preliminaries, even if we had chosen our opponents, it would not have turned out so well! And at Euro 2024, the series we are part of, with Slovakia, Belgium and a team from the play-offs, gives us the right to be optimistic about qualifying in the first knockout phase.
Which is exactly why, all kidding aside, we're being hit with a heavy loss now ahead of the Nations League draw. Down with a strong flu, the selector Edward Iordănescu missed the trip to Paris and will watch the event in front of the screen. Mihai Stoichiță (head of the Technical Commission) and Ionel Gane (second coach) are part of the delegation sent by Romania to Paris.
League C, the value ballots for the draw
Urn 1: Romania, Sweden, Armenia, Luxembourg
2nd urn: Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Faroe Islands
Urn 3: North Macedonia, Slovakia, Northern Ireland, Cyprus
4th urn: Belarus, Lithuania / Gibraltar*, Estonia, Latvia
*In March, there will be a play-off between Lithuania and Gibraltar. The winner will stay in League C, while the loser will go to League D.
When will the matches be played?
Stage 1: September 5-7
Stage 2: September 8-10
Stage 3: October 10-12
Stage 4: October 13-15
Stage 5: November 14-16
Romania in the League of Nations
Series Edition Final ranking
2022-2023 B3 Place 4 of 4
2020-2021 B1 Place 3 out of 4
2018-2019 C4 Place 2 of 4