Shock FIFA decision means Kostas Manolas misses Croatia - Greece clash
Greece will be without star defender Kostas Manolas for the upcoming first leg of their crucial World Cup qualifying playoff tie against Croatia in Zagreb after the Roma man received a one-match suspension by FIFA for violating fair play rules.
FIFA ruled that the 26-year-old got himself booked on purpose in the final moments of the recent Group H qualifier against Cyprus in Nicosia, which Greece won 2-1, in order to miss out on the final group match against Gibraltar so that he would begin the playoffs with a clean disciplinary record.
The ruling comes as a huge shock to Greece and their German coach Michael Skibbe, who must now alter his plans for next Thursday's away match against the talented Croatia.
The Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) announced the news via a brief official statement, which also added that Manolas and EPO do not have a right to appeal the decision, as is the standard procedure in such cases.