Greece vs Croatia - Sokratis not optimistic for Greece after 4-1 loss to Croatia

Posted Saturday, November 11, 2017 by PA

Greece defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos admits Croatia have likely "95 per cent" already qualified for the World Cup.

The Ethniki were pushed to the brink of outright elimination from the tournament by a 4-1 humbling in Zagreb - a result the Greek press have called an "unprecedented disgrace".

Goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis conceded an early penalty which Luka Modric converted and Nikola Kalinic tapped in a second before Sokratis headed an away goal.

There would be no comeback, however, as Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric put the Croatians out of sight in the second half.

Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis told "Croatia have 95 per cent qualified. We did not really appreciate the importance of the game and the goals we conceded were ridiculous.

"It was a difficult night."

National team boss Michael Skibbe understands the difficult position Greece are now in but promised to at least guarantee more effort from his players in front of home fans at the Karaiskakis Stadium.

"It will be very complicated for us to come back after this game. We are very unhappy," said the German tactician, who took the Greece job two years ago.

"On Sunday you will see a better team."

Unfortunately for Skibbe and Greece, Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic still has an ace up his sleeve.

Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic was not fully fit for the home fixture but will be unleashed against Skibbe's men in Piraeus.

Dalic told "Mandzukic wanted to play, but that was too big a risk, as he would probably have had to be substituted very soon. He'll be ready for the return leg.

"We are aware of the quality of our players and we managed to mix our quality with strength.

"However, we need to realise that nothing is over yet.

"There will be no euphoria before the return leg, even though Croatia did a wonderful job. We'll start as if the aggregate scoreline were 0-0."

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