Preview - Greece vs Croatia 13 Nov

Started by Bensergi, Nov 12, 2017, 11:33 PM

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Bensergi

Greece vs Croatia

Croatia have a huge 4-1 first leg lead to enjoy as they head to Greece. Much credit has been given to Zlatko Dalic, who has put the Balkans in this strong position.

Dalic took over the coaching reins from Ante Cacic after Croatia slipped from top to third in their qualifying group. He would guide them a crucial 2-0 win over Ukraine, lifting them into the playoffs.

More bad news are in store for Greece, who have been labelled an "unprecedented disgrace" by their press.

Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic was not fully fit for the first leg win but will be unleashed against Greece in Piraeus.

Former European champions Greece were all over the place at the back in Zagreb - and that could mean wholesale changes for the second leg.

Giannis Maniatis was hauled off at half-time, with youngster Panagiotis Retsos looking steady in his place.

Croatia picked up no bookings or injuries on Thursday and may keep the same team.

Bensergi

Match Stats:

  • Greece 0-0 Croatia
  • Shots: 8-6
  • Possession: 64%-36%
  • Corner kicks: 4-3


Croatia qualified for their fifth World Cup after following up their convincing play-off first-leg win over Greece with a dour goalless draw in Athens.

The game only had one shot on target, with the tie over as a contest after Croatia's 4-1 win in Zagreb.

The visitors went closest, with Ivan Perisic hitting the post from 30 yards.

Greece were much improved from the side called an "unprecedented disgrace" by domestic media in the first leg - but never looked like mounting a comeback.

They should have had a penalty early on when Ivan Strinic fouled Zeca, but Croatia were instead awarded a free-kick. Dimitrios Pelkas put the ball into an empty net late on, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Croatia's controversial decision to sack Ante Cacic and replace him with Zlatko Dalic - who has not even signed a contract yet - two days before the final group game has ultimately paid off.

The Balkan nation - who have qualified for 10 of 12 major tournaments since independence - did not have any supporters at the game, as both federations agreed to ban away fans from the two legs because of the possibility of violence.

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