After Euro 2024, scheduled for June-July, Romania will debut in the fourth edition of the League of Nations. Dropped in the 3rd tier of continental football, the “tricolors” will play against the national teams of Kosovo, Cyprus and the winner of the Lithuania-Gibraltar tie. The objective of Edi Iordănescu's team is clear: 1st place, which brings promotion to League B, but also the certainty that we get a place in the play-offs for the qualification for the 2026 World Cup.
Romanian fans, at the National Arena, at the match with Kosovo. Inquam's photo
In front of Romania will be Kosovo, with whom we faced in the Euro 2024 preliminaries, in two matches with sparks. If in Pristina we pulled out, alas, a tie result, 0-0 after a goal disallowed for the hosts after the restarts in the VAR room, in Bucharest the “tricolors” prevailed in the end, with two successes coming after the 85th minute. So, Kosovo is a tough nut on the field, but also an opponent that tries to make the most of the political situation in which it finds itself. The province inhabited mostly by Albanian Muslims is not recognized by Romania as a state, after the unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia.
They withdrew from the field in the previous game
This is what happened in September 2023, when the Kosovars withdrew from the field after the Romanian ultras from the National Arena displayed a banner that read “Kosovo e Serbia”. Pristina officials went further, turning to UEFA in the hope of a settled result at the disciplinary committees, which did not happen.
The situation will probably be the same at the meetings in the League of Nations, already the Kosovar press is asking the federation to go to the continental forum, considering that the instigations from our side have started. “The Romanians are seriously challenging us. It is interesting that the group of Romanian ultras “United under the Tricolor” reacted harshly to Kosovo, writing shamelessly and insulting our country, which they called a province. On November 15, Kosovo will meet Romania, and UEFA should take into account these challenges of the Romanian ultras from now on”the journalists from Bota Sot wrote over the weekend.
Mihai Stoichiță: They are artificial conflicts
Present at the draw, the technical director of the FRF, Mihai Stoichiță, wanted to defuse the conflict: “It's good to play to train before the World Cup qualifiers. I also discussed with Edi and we cannot propose anything other than qualifying for the World Cup. We want Edi to remain a selector (no – Iordănescu's contract with the federation expires after Euro 2024, the discussions are to start next month).
Currently, 97 of the 193 UN member states recognize the independence of the Kosovo region
I don't know of any war in Kosovo. I went and walked the street. I was in Romania's tracksuit and no one attacked me. We only create artificial conflicts. Romanian fans have nothing to do with those from Kosovo because we are not in a state of war. We will also talk with them (no – with the national team supporters), especially since UEFA and FRF are apolitical”said Mihai Stoichiță.
The statements of the FRF official are also reinforced by the fact that several players from Kosovo have reached the Super League, who not only do not cause problems, but are even appreciated by the fans of their own teams. And we shouldn't forget the help given by the “yellow-blue” national team in the qualification campaign for Euro 2024, which defeated Israel just when we were dying and thus smoothed our way to the final tournament in Germany.
Nations League Groups, League C
Group C1: Sweden, Azerbaijan, Slovakia, Estonia
Group C2: RomaniaKosovo, Cyprus, Lithuania/Gibraltar*
Group C3: Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Northern Ireland, Belarus
Group C4: Armenia, Faroe Islands, North Macedonia, Latvia
*In March there will be a play-off match between Lithuania and Gibraltar. The winner will stay in League C and join Romania's group, while the loser will go to League D.
Romania's program in the League of Nations
Friday, September 6, 2024, 9:45 p.m
Kosovo – Romania
Monday, September 9, 2024, 9:45 p.m
Romania – Lithuania/Gibraltar
Saturday, October 12, 2024, 9:45 p.m
Cyprus – Romania
Tuesday 15 October 2024, 21.45
Lithuania/Gibraltar – Romania
Friday, November 15, 2024, 9:45 p.m
Romania – Kosovo
Monday, November 18, 2024, 9:45 p.m
Romania – Cyprus