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Preview: Romania vs. Liechtenstein - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's World Cup Qualifying clash between Romania and Liechtenstein, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Romania will aim to make it back-to-back wins in World Cup qualifying when they host Liechtenstein on Sunday.

Tricolorii are fourth in Group J with six points from four games, while their visitors are the group's minnows and are bottom on zero points.

Match preview

Romania players celebrate their first goal on July 22, 2021© Reuters

Romania began the qualifying campaign with a 3-2 win over North Macedonia, but successive defeats to Germany and Armenia threatened to derail their hopes of reaching Qatar.

After two more defeats to Georgia and England in friendlies in June, Mirel Radoi's men got back on track on Thursday night, as goals from Dennis Man and Nicolae Stanciu secured a 2-0 win away in Iceland.

It means that they are four points behind group leaders Armenia and three behind second-place Germany ahead of Sunday's match and their trip to North Macedonia on Wednesday.

Victory over Iceland was their first clean sheet in seven matches – they have not achieved consecutive shut outs for nearly two years.

Romania have not qualified for the World Cup since 1998, but lost out in the playoffs in qualification for the 2002 and 2014 tournaments.

Tricolorii have not met Liechtenstein since 1999, but have been victorious in their previous four encounters by an aggregate score of 26-1.

Liechtenstein's Jens Hofer and Andreas Malin in action on March 28, 2021© Reuters

Liechtenstein have only won two of their previous 61 World Cup qualifying matches and lost all 10 games in trying to get to the 2018 tournament.

They appear to be heading that way again this time around, with four defeats from four games so far; they have scored just once and conceded 12 times.

Martin Stocklasa is the first Liechtensteiner to take charge of the national team in over 20 years but has lost his first six games in charge; they have not lost seven in a row since 2016.

A 2-0 defeat to Germany on Thursday, in which Hansi Flick's side did not wrap up their win until the 77th minute, was tame in comparison to some of Liechtenstein's other losses this year – they have been beaten 5-0 by North Macedonia, 7-0 by Switzerland and 5-1 by the Faroe Islands in the last six months.

It is therefore no surprise that Liechtenstein are ranked 189th in the world; Gibraltar and San Marino are the only European teams to place lower.

Romania World Cup Qualifying form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Romania form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

Liechtenstein World Cup Qualifying form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Liechtenstein form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

Romania manager Mirel Radoi on March 31, 2021© Reuters

There are doubts over the fitness of both of Romania's striking options – Denis Alibec suffered a knock in training and Jovan Markovic is struggling with fatigue.

It was a surprise to see Razvan Marin start on the bench against Iceland, but after coming off the bench to assist Nicolae Stanciu's goal, the midfielder should start on Sunday.

Andrei Ratiu put in a strong performance on his senior international debut on Thursday so should keep his spot at right-back.

After Liechtenstein conceded 12 goals in their two friendlies in June with a four-man defence, Martin Stocklasa went with a back five against Germany and should do so again in Bucharest as they looked considerably more solid.

Seven Liechtensteiners come into the game with yellow cards, including key goal threat Yanick Frick, meaning if they are booked they will miss Wednesday's trip to Armenia.

Frick and his younger brother Noah Frick are the sons of Mario Frick, who is Liechtenstein's all-time record scorer with 16 goals - the first of which came against Romania in 1997.

Romania possible starting lineup:
Nita; Ratiu, Chiriches, Nedelcearu, Camora; Cicaldu, Marin; Man, Stanciu, Sorescu; Markovic

Liechtenstein possible starting lineup:
B. Buchel; S. Wolfinger, Malin, Kaufmann, Hofer, Goppel; N. Frick, Frommelt, Hasler; Y. Frick, Sele

SM words green background

We say: Romania 4-0 Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein looked more solid against Germany but away from home it might be a different story, despite Romania's fitness doubts upfront. Radoi's men looked impressive going forward in Iceland and should ease to victory on Sunday.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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