Previous comebacks offer glimmer of hope for Greece
AGONAsport.com looks back at past memorable second leg comebacks that could give a glimmer of hope for Greece as they look for a historic turnaround against Croatia on Sunday at the Karaiskakis stadium.
Stuck in a huge hole, Greece require a monumental effort if the country is to make the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Ethniki have to earn a 3:0 win (at minimum) against a talented Croatia side after losing 4:1 in Zagreb, but miracles have happened before. AGONAsport takes you through previous comebacks witnessed on the international stage, something which Greece will need on Sunday.
Euro 1968 Qual: Italy - Bulgaria - 4:3 agg. (2:3, 2:0)
Back in those days, the top eight teams of the qualifying groups all competed in playoffs against each other to make the final tournament. Bulgaria managed to defeat Italy 3:2 in the first leg at home, but the Italians came roaring back in the return fixture. Pierino Prati gave Italy the away goals advantage after 14 minutes, and Angelo Domenghini completed the turnaround in the second half.
Euro 1968 Qual: USSR - Hungary - 3:2 agg. (0:2, 3:0)
Hungary surprisingly overpowered a strong Soviet Union side in the first leg, defeating their illustrious opponents 2:0 in Budapest. It looked as though the Hungarians were going to qualify for the tournament, however the Soviet Union had other ideas. Hosting the second match at the famous Luzhniki Arena, the future venue for the 2018 World Cup final, the Soviets blew Hungary away 3:0.
2002 World Cup Qual: Uruguay - Australia - 3:1 agg. (0:1, 3:0)
Oceania’s best team did battle against Uruguay for the right to compete at the 2002 World Cup. Not many had Australia down as favourites, but they clinched a 1:0 victory in Melbourne. It wasn’t enough though, as Uruguay scored two late goals in the second match to take a 3:0 triumph in South America.
Euro 2004 Qual: Holland - Scotland - 6:1 agg. (0:1, 6:0)
Huge underdogs in the tie, Scotland grabbed a shock 1:0 win in Glasgow. James McFadden’s goal in the first leg gifted the Scots a previous advantage for the second match, but their hopes were to be shattered in Holland. A fired up Netherlands team knocked six past Scotland in the return, breaking the hearts of Scotland’s faithful supporters.
2014 World Cup Qual: France - Ukraine - 3:2 agg. (0:2, 3:0)
Ukraine put on a superb performance against the much fancied French, impressively beating their opponents 2:0 in Kiev. Nevertheless, France hadn’t read the script. At a packed Stade De France, the hosts made a fantastic comeback. Mamadou Sakho and Karim Benzema levelled the aggregate score in the first half, before Sakho netted his second in the final stages to book France’s ticket to the 2014 Brazilian World Cup.