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Football | Europe

Victor Piturca © Action Images

Coach wants Romania to play outside Bucharest



Romania should play home matches outside Bucharest to attract bigger crowds after a disappointing turnout for the friendly against Belgium on Wednesday, coach Victor Piturca said.

Last month, Romania lost 4-1 at home to Netherlands in a World Cup qualifier in front of a record 53 329 fans at Bucharest's National Arena but a mere 6 000 turned up to watch Romania come from behind to beat Belgium 2-1.

"I am very disappointed," Piturca told local media on Thursday. "There were only a few spectators while we expect a packed stadium when playing against a team of this calibre."

The small crowd made the 55 600-capacity National Arena look near-deserted on a cold night in Bucharest.

"I regret that the match was not played in Ploiesti (home town of first division club Petrolul) as I'm sure of a packed stadium there," Piturca said. "We need to consider where we'll play our next home matches."

Romania played some of their home matches away from Bucharest during Piturca's previous spell as national coach a few years ago, with the 56-year-old saying games outside the capital got a better reception from fans.

Romania are third in their 2014 World Cup qualifying Group D with nine points from four matches, three points behind leaders Netherlands.

The Balkan side, who have not qualified for the World Cup finals since 1998, host second-placedHungary and Turkey next September and Estonia in October.

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