Greece were firm underdogs coming into this World Cup qualifying playoff, and their chances have evaporated even further after their first leg defeat in Croatia. They lost 4-1 to the talented hosts on Thursday, and given Greece’s lacklustre attacking ability, not many will be backing them to make a comeback here.
The game was pretty much wrapped up by half-time on Thursday night, with Luka Modric, Nikola Kalinic, and Ivan Perisic giving Croatia a 3-1 lead at the break after Sokratis narrowed the deficit. Andrej Kramaric put the icing on the cake with a second half goal, leaving Croatia free to experiment a bit on Sunday.
The visitors will still be a bit disappointed by their inability to seal automatic qualification though. They were huge favourites to clinch the top spot but a number of disappointing performances, alongside another inspired campaign by Iceland left them 2nd in the group behind the neutrals’ favourite.
It was Croatia’s away form that let them down. They have won just two of their last seven away days in all competitions, and that’s thanks to their seeming inability to find the back of the net with the same regularity that they manage in Zagreb. They have only scored six times in these seven matches, and now come up against the defensively organised Greece.
Greece have undoubtedly improved since their disastrous Euro 2016 campaign, but it’s not going to be enough. Even on home soil they have only managed two wins from their last seven matches and have lost three times. Defensively they are very well drilled, but they only managed ten goals in these seven games and that includes matches against the likes of Cyprus and Gibraltar.
Three of the hosts last five home matches have seen fewer than three goals, as have five of Croatia’s last seven on the road. Given both teams lack of attacking form at home and away respectively this is unlikely to be a high scoring affair, so we’re backing Under 2.5 Goals along with a narrow 1-0 win for the visitors.