Romania picks Rădoi as coach ahead of Euro 2020 playoffs

<p>
              Spain's Santi Carzola, center, send the ball past Romania's Razvan Rus during the Euro 2020 group F qualifying soccer match between Spain and Romania at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
            </p>

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s soccer federation says it promoted Mirel Rădoi to coach the national team ahead of the European Championship playoffs.

The 38-year-old Rădoi will begin with a single-game playoff away to Iceland in March. The winner advances to play away to Bulgaria or Hungary for a place at Euro 2020.

Romania’s reward for qualifying would be two home games in Bucharest in a four-team group including the Netherlands and Ukraine.

Rădoi led Romania’s Under-21 team to the semifinals of its European Championship in June. That earned Romania a place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics lineup.

In his playing career, Rădoi was a defender for Steaua Bucharest before moving to Saudi Arabia.

He replaces Cosmin Contra, a teammate at Euro 2008, who left the job last week after a 5-0 loss against Spain.