Greece made a statement win with their 3-1 victory in the first leg of the European World Cup Playoffs against Romania, but they needed to finish the job in the second match of the tie.
The Greek side did what they do best, as they defended solidly and took advantage of their chances to end the game with a 1-1 draw that gave them the tickets to Brazil’s World Cup next year.
Knowing that Romania needed at least two goals to turn the tie around, Greece established themselves on away soil with a defensive strategy that was expected to stop their rival, while also allowing them to counter attack effectively. The strategy worked like a charm, as they not only defended solidly, but also scored the first goal of the game thanks to Konstantinos Mitroglou, who netted his fifth goal in his last three international matches.
Romania pushed their lines forward in the second half, and they tied the game thanks to an own goal from Vassilis Torossidis. However, they didn’t have enough chances to create havoc in a steady Greek defensive line.
Despite the fact that they have several quality players on the attack, like the in-form Mitroglou and Celtic winger Giorgios Samaras, the real strength of Greece is their defensive line, where they feature names like Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Sokratis Papastathopoulos. This system allowed them to win the European Championship back in 2004, and they successfully repeated the results, as they will look to have a good performance 10 years later.
Greece will go into their second straight World Cup after participating four years ago in South Africa. Now, the same core has four more years of experience, something they will look to show in the South American country.