The top two teams in Group F will go at it on Oct. 7th in a Euro 2012 qualifying match when group second-place Greece hosts group leaders Croatia. The Croatians currently lead the group with 19 points from six wins, a draw and a loss. Greece is right behind them with 18 points from five wins and three draws. Automatic qualification is at stake here for next summer’s tournament as the second-place finishers will have to enter a playoff round.
Croatia will sew up top spot with a win, but a draw will still leave things wide open heading into Tuesday’s final qualifying games when Greece travels to fourth-place Georgia and Croatia goes home to take on fifth-place Latvia. If Greece beats Croatia their destiny will be in their own hands against Georgia.
Sportsbook 5dimes.com has a Croatia win listed at +187 with a Greece victory at +171. The odds of a draw are listed at +221. Visit 5Dimes.com to bet on the game or to see up to date odds on all Euro2012 matches.
Croatia manager Slaven Bilic didn’t select Danijel Pranjic and Mladen Petricare this time out and midfielder Ivo Ilicevic is out with an injury. To make matters worse, captain Darijo Srna is suspended for the game against Greece.
Greece manager Fernando Santos has three players returning to his squad. Striker Angelos Charisteas returns for the first time since last year’s World Cup in South Africa. Striker Fanis Gekas also returns after announcing last year that he was retiring from international competition. In addition, goalkeeper Dionisis Chiotis has been called up to the team for just the second time. The 34-year-old last played for the national team way back in 2002. In the bad news department, Greece will have to play without the services of Sotiris Ninis, Pantelis Kafes, Michalis Sifakis, Giannis Fetfatzidis, and Giannis Maniatis.
The two teams played to a 0-0 draw in their first Euro 2012 qualifying meeting in Zagreb, Croatia in September of 2010. The teams have met a total of five times in the past with things all even. Each team has won a game with the other three ending in draws. Greece heads into the game with two wins and three draws in their last five games overall while Croatia has won three and drawn two of their past five games.
Greece likes to play a defensive game and it could be hard for Croatia to break them down especially since they’re at home. It’ll be even harder if the Greeks get a lead. Look for this match to end in a draw with the group then being decided on the last day.
Play: Draw +171
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Written by: Ian Palmer