World Cup 2014 Ladder: Pantilimon
- 17 June 2013 15:08
- Posted by @dclayton_mcfc
Continuing our look at the chances our players and their countries have of making the 2014 World Cup...
International career to date…
Costel has won 16 caps to date and seems the natural successor to Romanian legend, Bogdan 'The Cat' Lobont. Though he hasn't had that many opportunities to impress in the national team, he's won an average of four caps per season since making his debut against Georgia in late 2008.
He last appeared for Romania in March, when Holland beat him four times in a heavy defeat in Amsterdam.
Will his nation be there?
Romania, wisely, have now played runaway group leaders Holland home and away in their World Cup qualifying group. They lie in third at present behind Hungary, but will play the same country in Budapest in September, followed by Turkey four days later - if the Romanians win both games, they will have an excellent chance of making the play-offs with Estonia and Andorra the final two group games. A defeat to Hungary, however, would make things very difficult...
Who's the competition?
There are four Romanian keepers all vying for the coveted No.1 spot if World Cup qualification is achieved, though Brazil 2014 would almost certainly be Bogdan Lobont's swansong. The veteran keeper will be 36 next summer and will probably want to hand the No.1 jersey to one of the upcoming youngsters after Brazil - though with 83 caps to date, he may want to make it to a century.
Cristian Balgradean, Silviu Lung Jr and Costel all are in their mid-twenties but the City keeper has won the most caps of the Heir apparents. It will be a crucial 12 months for Costel and underlines his need to play regular first team football if he is to achieve his dreams.
His debut v Georgia is one of Costel's international highlights, though he was actually outstanding in the 4-0 defeat to Holland.