Preview - Croatia vs Greece 10 Nov

Started by Bensergi, Nov 09, 2017, 11:43 AM

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Croatia vs Greece
Croatia have a fine playoff record, having won all four of their playoffs to reach either World Cup or European Championship tournaments in the past. Overall, since gaining independence, the Balkan nation have advanced to nine out of 11 major tournament finals.

There will be no battle between Mario Mandzukic and Kostas Manolas though. Mandzukic is out with a hamstring strain and is highly doubtful, while Greece defender Kostas Manolas is suspended due to a fair play violation.

Greece, who finished behind Belgium in Group H, are also hoping that captain Vasilis Torosidis and defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos are fit.

The second leg heads to Athens in four days time.


Match Stats:

  • Croatia 4-1 Greece
  • Shots: 17-7
  • Possession: 59%-41%
  • Corner kicks: 7-3

Croatia capitalised on a dismal Greece defensive display to take a commanding lead after the first leg of their World Cup qualifying play-off in Zagreb.

Greek keeper Orestis Karnezis' clumsy touch led to him conceding an early penalty, which Luka Modric converted.

Nikola Kalinic was unmarked to tap in a second but Sokratis Papastathopoulos' fine header gave Greece an away goal.

Ivan Perisic headed Croatia's third before half-time before Andrej Kramaric tapped in after a botched backpass.

Konstantinos Stafylidis' attempt to chest the ball back to his keeper summed up Greece's defensive display as Sime Vrsaljko stole in to square, giving Kramaric an empty net.

That gave Croatia a three-goal advantage, leaving Greece with a huge task on home soil in Sunday's second leg, when a 3-0 win will be required to send them through on away goals.

Croatia have not lost a competitive fixture by a three-goal margin since a 5-1 defeat by England in 2009.

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