Romania have suffered another injury blow ahead of their first two 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers after midfielder Banel Nicolita was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury.

The 26-year-old Steaua Bucharest player joins Inter Milan's central defender Cristian Chivu, who is recovering from a shoulder operation, and Fiorentina's star forward Adrian Mutu (rib injury) on the sidelines for the two matches with Lithuania and Faroe Islands.

"It is tough to miss the start of the qualifiers but my ankle is hurting and I simply would not be fit enough to play in either match," said Nicolita, who quit training after just a quarter-of-an-hour.

"I sprained my ankle during the Champions League match with Galatasaray on 27 August and I really tried to push it to make it back in time," added Nicolita, who scored his first goal for the national side in 24 appearances in August's friendly against Latvia.

Romania go on to play France in Constanta on 11 October - the other two countries in the Group 7 are Serbia and Austria.

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