Rangers star dropped for international clash as shock defeat damages World Cup hopes
Photo by Cristi Preda/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Rangers star dropped for international clash as shock defeat damages World Cup hopes

Rangers star Ianis Hagi was dropped as Romania slipped to a shock defeat to Armenia on Wednesday night, in a major blow to their hopes of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

Hagi has been in and out of the Romania team for some time, but he looked to have taken a big step towards establishing himself at the senior international level last week.

The 22-year-old scored the decisive goal five minutes from time as Romania downed North Macedonia 3-2 in their Group J opener in Bucharest.

He was rewarded with a start at the weekend against Germany, but he didn’t manage to repeat his heroics as his side were defeated 1-0.

The Gers star would have been hoping for another opportunity in a much more winnable contest against Armenia, who are ranked 62 places below Romania in the FIFA World Rankings.

Rangers star Hagi started a World Cup qualifier against Germany but was dropped for a clash against Armenia a few days later. (Photo by Alex Nicodim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

However, coach Mirel Radoi opted to take Hagi out of the lineup.

Initially, the move appeared to have paid off, with the visitors 2-1 up in Yerevan with five minutes remaining, despite being down to ten men.

However, the hosts scored twice in quick succession in the closing stages to secure an unlikely comeback victory as Hagi watched on helplessly from the bench.

Romania are now fourth in the group after three matches and with only one team guaranteed to progress to the World Cup, their chances of qualifying already look extremely slim.

One of Hagi’s Rangers teammates was in action on Wednesday night, though, and the club responded to a tweet about the player from his international team’s account.