Greece remain second ahead of Bosnia, Cyprus in the mix
Despite a disappointing goalless draw with Estonia, Greece remain in second place of Group H thanks to a heroic comeback victory for Cyprus over Bosnia.
After seven rounds of World Cup qualifying, Greece remain second in Group H, two points ahead of Bosnia and six points behind leaders Belgium. Greece’s goalless draw against Estonia will surely leave Greek fans across the world disappointed, seeing that a golden chance to seal second spot in the group was lost after Cyprus put together a heroic comeback from 0-2 down to defeat the Bosnias.
Greece’s draw with Estonia means first place is now out of reach (not mathematically) and the Ethniki will now look to finish second in the group, which leads to a two-legged playoff for a spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Although Cyprus’ win was a “gift” for Greece, the result brings Cyprus into the mix for second spot, who now sit on 10 points only one point behind Bosnia and three behind Greece. Cyprus will travel to Estonia on Sunday and if they grab all three points, it could be a showdown with Greece in Nicosia for second spot. Anything other than a win for Cyprus in Tallinn, will leave them well behind the pace as they still have to travel to Belgium on the final matchday.
On the other hand, Greece host the group leaders Belgium on Sunday in what looks to be a must win match. With a win, Greece will close in on second place and keep fate in their own hands while a draw will allow Bosnia, who are on the road to Gibraltar, to tie Greece on 14 points. Both Greece and Bosnia currently sit level on goal differential (+7), but a big Bosnian win over Gibraltar will put them ahead of Greece in the standings if Greece fail to defeat Belgium on Sunday. A reminder, the World Cup is a FIFA competition and the first tie-breaker criteria is goal differential.
Greece's final two fixtures are away to Cyprus and at home to Gibraltar, which could be a very important match in the end, if Greece and Bosnia go down to goal differential. Although Greece is not known to be an attacking team, hosting Gibraltar on the final matchday knowing how many goals they need to win by, could prove to be an advantage on the final matchday.
Bosnia still have two tricky matches on rounds 9 and 10 as they host the leaders Belgium in an empty stadium in Sarajevo before traveling to Estonia to finish their Group H fixtures. Greece will expect Bosnia to lose points against Belgium, however the Red devils could go into the match without interest in the scoreline, if they have already secured qualification with a good result against Greece on Sunday.
The second place ticket will come down to the end between Greece, Bosnia, and now Cyprus and things will be much clearer after Sunday’s results. Below are the current standings and remaining fixtures in group H.
GROUP H STADNINGS
GROUP H REMAINING FIXTURES
|3-Sep-17||Gibraltar||2:45 PM||Bosnia & Herz.|
|7-Oct-17||Bosnia & Herz.||12:00 PM||Belgium|
|10-Oct-17||Estonia||2:45 PM||Bosnia & Herz.|