Crucial test awaits in Bosnia
UEFA EURO 2020 QUALIFIERS - MATCHDAY 2
Greece travel to Bosnia for a potentially crucial meeting in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying. AGONAsport previews the duel.
We meet again. In the past few years, these two countries have locked horns on a regular basis, with the nations most recently playing against each other in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification. At home, Greece snatched a precious 1:1 draw thanks to Georgios Tzavellas’ thunderbolt, before the Ethniki Omada then frustrated Bosnia on the road to secure a 0:0 tie. The Greeks finished above Bosnia and made the qualification playoffs, where they ultimately lost to eventual finalists Croatia over two legs.
Overall, Greece and Bosnia have played against each other eight times in official matches, with the Greeks tallying four victories, three draws and the one defeat. One friendly match in 2011 ended in an uneventful 0:0 draw.
Both Greece and Bosnia are expected to challenge for second place in Group J. Italy are the favourites to finish in first position, while Finland, Armenia and Liechtenstein are all assumed to be the weaker teams in the group. Greece will play their maiden home games in June against the Italians and Armenians.
These two teams managed to make winning starts to the qualifying campaign. Hosting Armenia, the Bosnians just about edged past their stubborn opponents, earning a tough 2:1 victory with Rade Krunic and substitute Deni Milosevic scoring the goals. In the last minute, Arsenal forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan converted a penalty for the Armenians, but Bosnia held on to register three points.
Over in Liechtenstein, Greece avoided any unwanted surprises, beating the minnows 2:0 in Vaduz. In the first half, nerves were beginning to grow as Liechtenstein defended solidly, but Kostas Fortounis finally broke the deadlock in stoppage time with a wonderful volley. Tasos Donis, who replaced the injured Konstantinos Mitroglou, doubled the advantage in the latter stages of the second half with his first goal for the Ethniki Omada.
TEAM NEWS: BOSNIA
According to reports, Bosnian manager Robert Prosinecki has already revealed his starting line-up to play Greece, including former PAOK midfielder Gojko Cimirot in the team. Elvis Saric and Elvir Colic will not play.
In the past, ex-AEK defender Ognjen Vranjes used to be a key figure for Bosnia, but after getting involved in a sex scandal with Serbian singer/model Jelena Karleusa, he is no longer involved in the national team set-up..
Possible line-up: Sehic, Sunjic, Zukanovic, Bicakcic, Kolasinac, Besic, Cimirot, Pjanic, Zakaric, Visca, Dzeko.
TEAM NEWS: GREECE
Panionios forward Fiorin Durmishaj has joined up with the Ethniki after Mitroglou was ruled out with injury. Previously, the 22-year-old represented Albanian youth national teams, but due to holding dual nationality, he is eligible to play for the Greek senior side.
In Liechtenstein, Arsenal centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos was only healthy enough to sit on the bench, but he might participate in this match. Anastasiadis is predicted to either stick to a 4-2-3-1 formation or switch to 3-5-2.
Given Tasos Bakasetas’ underwhelming performance on Saturday, Donis could potentially start on the right wing, with Giorgos Masouras competing on the left. Top Super League scorer Efthymis Koulouris would then play as the main striker.
Possible line-up: Vlachodimos, Bakakis, Siovas, Papastathopoulos, Koutris, Zeca, Samaris, Fortounis, Masouras, Donis, Koulouris.
REFEREE: DANNY MAKKELIE (NED)
36-year-old Dutch referee Makkelie will be in charge in Zenica. In the current season, Makkelie has refereed the Club Brugge - Borussia Dortmund (0:1), Olympique Lyonnais - Hoffenheim (2:2), CSKA Moscow - Viktoria Plzen (1:2), AS Roma - FC Porto (2:1) and Borussia Dortmund - Tottenham Hotspur (0:1) matches in the UEFA Champions League.
He also oversaw proceedings in the RB Leipzig - Zorya (3:2) UEFA Europa League game and the England - Spain (1:2) and Italy - Portugal (0:0) UEFA Nations League fixtures.
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
Assistant referees: Mario Diks (NED), Hessel Steegstra (NED)
Fourth official: Pol van Boekel (NED)
WHERE TO WATCH
The match can be seen LIVE from AGONAsport, courtesy of World Greek TV, for anyone living outside of Greece or Cyprus. The match will be televised in Greek commentary. Purchasing details can be found below or by following this link.