No favors from Georgia & Turkey, New hope from Serbia & Croatia slip ups
Both Georgia and Turkey failed to grab favorable results for Greece over Wales and Turkey, however slip ups from Serbia and Croatia open up new hope for the Ethniki in their fight for a playoff spot.
Some results on Friday did not go in Greece’s favor as our Ethniki look to claim a World Cup qualifying playoff spot for November, however a couple of unexpected outcomes provided some new hope for our national team. As explained in depth in a previous article, Greece’s fate to reach the November playoffs depend on results within Group H, but also results from the other groups. On Thursday, three groups were in action and Greek fans had their eyes on certains games, hoping for certain outcomes. That was explained here.
The best results of the day for Greece look to be Croatia’s 1-1 draw with Finland and Serbia’s loss to Austria. These unexpected outcomes provide some new hope for Greece as Georgia and Turkey did not do favors for Greece against Wales and Iceland.
Below is a recap of today’s results that affect Greece’s fight for a runner-up playoff spot.
Group D: Georgia - Wales 0 - 1
- What Greece needed: Georgia win or draw
- Wales' victory in Georgia was bad news for Greece as a Wales slip up in Tbilisi would have put them mathematically under Greece in the runner up standings. However, Greece still have hope in Group D on the final matchday when Wales host Ireland and also when Serbia host Georgia, after Serbia's loss against Austria (explained below)
- A draw between Wales and Iceland on matchday ten will mathematically secure Greece a playoff sport (assuming Greece finish second in Group H)
- An Ireland win over Wales will mathematically secure Greece a place in the playoffs unless Ireland defeat Wales by three goals or more.
- A Wales win will mathematically put them in the playoffs and they will finish ahead of Greece in the runner-up standings.
Group D: Austria - Serbia 3 - 2
- What Greece needed: Austria win
- Serbia fell away to Austria (thanks to a late goal from Schaub) which is a beneficial result for Greece and opens up another unexpected scenario from Group D. Serbia sit on 18 points and can only surpass Greece with a win over Georgia on the final matchday. However, if Serbia defeat Georgia they will finish first in their group and Greece would have to hope Wales does not defeat Ireland (explained above).
- If Serbia fail to defeat Georgia they will finish behind Greece in the runner-up standings. A draw will put them tied with Greece on 19 points and a +3 goal differential while Greece will be at +4, since they have to defeat Cyprus, giving Greece the tiebreaker advantage.
- If Serbia lose to Georgia, Greece will finish ahead of Serbia in the runner-up standings.
Group I: Turkey - Iceland 0 - 3
- What Greece needed: Turkey win
- Iceland's win over Turkey mathematically ensures them a place in the playoffs and if they finish second in their group, Greece cannot finish ahead of them in the runner-up standings (assuming Iceland at least draw last placed Kosovo on matchday 10). However, Iceland sit first in the group after Croatia's slip up at home, which was a great result for Greece (explained below).
Group I: Croatia - Finland 1 - 1
- What Greece needed: Finland win or draw
- Although the result between Iceland and Turkey did not go Greece's way, Croatia's draw at home to Finland thanks to a stoppage time goal from Soiri, is a great result for our national team. This result opens up a new scenario from Group I.
- On the final match day, Ukraine host Croatia in a fight for second place in the group, assuming Iceland defeats Kosovo and finish first in Group I. If the Ukraine and Croatia play to a draw (both sit on 17 points) then Greece will finish ahead of both teams in the runner-up standings (Greece would have 19 if they win their final games). However if either team wins the match, they will finish ahead of Greece in the runner-up standings.
- A side note, Croatia will benefit from a draw away to Ukraine, due to their superior goal differential, while Ukraine can only finish second in the group with a win over Croatia.
A reminder, all this is hypothetical and actual means something IF Greece defeat Cyprus and Bosnia draw or lose to Belgium on Saturday (or to Estonia on Tuesday).