Spurs defender injured - can his nation cope without him?

Spurs defender Vlad Chiriches will miss Romania's crucial World Cup qualifying tie with Greece after sustaining a broken nose.

The 23-year-old centre back joined Tottenham Hotspur in a €9.5m deal from Steaua Bucharest in the summer, and has recently earned a starting place in the side, but his injury occurred in Sunday's 1-0 defeat against Newcastle and will now be forced to sit out Friday's showdown.

The captain of his country already, Chiriches has 22 caps and has established himself as the key player in their backline, so having him miss their vital playoff game is a monumental blow to their hopes of reaching the World Cup in Brazil next summer.

Romania manager Victor Piturca was evidently disappointed to lose Chiriches, but believes is side can overcome his absence in the upcoming games.

'Chiriches is very important for us, not only because he's our captain,' Pirtuca said, as reported by Sky Sports. 'But as I said many times, no team is dependent on only one player.'

Whilst Dragos Grigore of Dinamo Bucharest has been called up in Chiriches' place, the 27-year-old has just three caps and is likely no replacement for a player of Chiriches' quality. Fellow defenders Cristian Chivu and once Manchester City target Stefan Radu have both announced their international retirement in recent years, and along with Chiriches' injury, Romania's defence will now be decimated – not ideal when they will be up against Kostas Mitroglou, one of the most lethal strikers in Europe right now.

Romania have also chosen to leave former Chelsea striker and joint-top all time goalscorer Adrian Mutu out of the squad, but they can call upon Manchester City's Costel Pantilimon after he was called up to replace the injured Ciprian Tatarusanu. Liverpool target Alexandru Maxim will be the key man for Pirtuca's side, with the Stuttgart midfielder holding the ability to break down a sturdy Greek defence, whilst winger Gabriel Torje and former Arsenal and Spurs target Ciprian Marica will also be relied upon for attacking prowess.

The ties between Greece and Romania promise to be hard-fought and tightly contested, but the absence of Chiriches serves a huge blow for Piturca, who is looking to guide Romania to their first World Cup appearance since 1998, where they famously beat England 2-1 as they topped Group G.

image: © samlkelly

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