19:45 GMT 09 November 2017
Europe’s domestic fixtures are disrupted once again for yet another international break but for many teams, it is a very important. After the qualifying groups concluded last month for the FIFA World Cup next year, we still need to find out some of the sides who will be competing. Two of the nations are Croatia and Greece and the first leg of their World Cup play-off takes place on Thursday before they return to Greece for the second-leg on Sunday evening.
Croatia haven’t got a good history against Greece in the six meetings they have had. They have won just once while the Greeks have won twice, the other three ended as draws. They were drawn in the same qualifying group for the 2012 European Championships and Greece won their home match while the match in Zagreb ended goalless. This is the only goalless draw in the six previous matches between the two sides, the other five produced 14 goals.
With their squad, there’s no doubt that Croatia should have a place at the World Cup but their lacklustre performances have led to a play-off place. One of their most influential players, Mandzukic might not be available for the first-leg and he is joined on the injury on the injury table by Milan Badelj. They already have enough quality in midfield with Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic. Latest matches: Croatia
Latest matches: Croatia
Greece have come this far and they will be gutted to see their hopes of qualification dashed at the final stage. They will be hoping to see Vasilis Torosidis and Sokratis Papastathopoulos start after their respective injuries. One player that will definitely miss out is Roma defender, Kostas Manolas, who is suspended for the first-leg.
Latest matches: Greece
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This is one of the four play-off matches for the final places at next year’s World Cup but it isn’t expected to be one of the more entertaining ones as both nations are prided on their defensive solidity. Croatia are big favourites to win over both legs and they will need to take advantage of the home first-leg. Despite being without Mandzukic, they shouldn’t struggle too much in securing the first-leg victory.
09 November 2017 - 19:45 GMT
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