Marin: Romania have lots of players in top form

  • On Friday 8 October Romania take on Germany in qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™

  • Romania are third in Group J with 10 points after six matches, behind Armenia and Germany

  • Marin: We’ll fight hard for every point

Romania were on the crest of a wave in 1998. They had just played in their third successive FIFA World Cup™ and made it to the knockout stages, just as they had done in the previous two tournaments. Since then, however, the national team have failed to grace football’s flagship event, a situation coach Mirel Radol and his charges are desperate to rectify.

Currently third in Group J, they still have every chance of qualifying for Qatar 2022 via the play-offs for second-placed teams or even by booking a direct ticket to the World Cup. As the team prepare to resume qualifying this week, considerable hopes are being pinned on Razvan Marin.

The 25-year-old midfielder has been attracting attention for his technical prowess and determination, an attribute that quickly became apparent when he sat down to talk to "I’m convinced we can put in a good performance and come away with at least a point. We have lots of players who are in top form and we’ve had more time to train together compared to the last few matches. That gives me hope."

Yet Romania face formidable opposition in their next few games. After facing Germany in Hamburg in Friday, they host Armenia in Bucharest on Monday 11 October, a match that could provide an indication of who will win the battle for the top spots in Group J.

When we asked Marin whether he sees the game against Armenia as a mini final, he said: "It’ll be an extremely important match for the table in our group, but not the decisive one. After everything that has happened in the group so far, I think anyone can win and lose points, no matter who they’re playing. North Macedonia won their game against Germany, and we lost in Armenia but won in Iceland. I don’t think we’ll find out which team will reach the play-offs until the end of the group stage."

Qualifying for Qatar 2022 would be a long-awaited success for Romania after years of disappointment. Marin in particular has improved significantly over the last few years despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, following the coaching staff’s plan to the letter and remaining focused at all times.

"If you work with passion, it doesn’t matter what happens around you – you’ll find your way to success anyway," he explained. Marin attributes this success and his transformation into Romania’s stand-out player to two people in particular: his father Petre Marin, who was himself a Romania international, and the country’s footballing legend Gheorghe Hagi.

Marin’s compelling quality has also enabled him to gain valuable experience in other leagues. In addition to featuring in Romania’s Liga 1, he has also played in the Belgian and Dutch leagues.

He currently represents Cagliari in Italy’s Serie A and is a big fan of Italian football, which could explain his tip for the next world champions in 2022. When asked who will lift the Trophy in Qatar, he responded: "Italy or Argentina are my favourites. Italy are definitely the best footballing nation, and we mustn’t forget that they became European champions this year."

Whatever happens to Romania in their bid to reach the World Cup, 2022 looks like being a very special one for Marin, who recently announced on social media that he is set to welcome his daughter into the world next year.