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Romania vs Greece: World Cup play-off second-leg preview

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Romania v Greece, Bucharest, 19:00KO (1-3 agg)

Romania's 15-year wait for World Cup football may be set to continue after Greece comfortably beat them in Athens on Friday, with the Greek's fully expected to close out the tie in Bucharest tonight.

The Euro 2004 winners enjoyed a fruitful qualifying campaign, winning eight of their ten matches, but missed out on automatic qualification on goal difference to Bosnia in Group G. 

However, after a fine first-leg performance, a steady display in Romania will secure their place in the Group Stage draw on December 6. 

Their Portuguese manager, though, is apprehensive about talking up his side's chances, and remains grounded. 

Fernando Santos told reporters: "Although we are ahead in the tie we still need to go to Romania with a focused mindset as everything will be decided then.

"We are at half-time in the tie, so there is still plenty of work to be done. We'll have to show the same appetite and concentration in the second leg, so we don't throw away what we have built in Athens.

"Our focus will be to keep a clean sheet because if we concede an early goal it will create problems for us.

"Nothing is over yet."

Romania, despite being two goals down in the tie, can take heart from the fact they were missing Tottenham defender Vlad Chiriches and managed to score against a Greece side that hadn't conceded since March. 

The Spurs defender missed the first leg due to a fractured nose, and could wear a protective mask this time around. The 1998 World Cup finalists will be without midfield duo Alexandru Bourceanu and Costin Lazar, who are both suspended. 

Romania's coach, Victor Piturca, has promised to hide in a monastery if his side cannot overturn the first-leg deficit.

"If we manage to qualify, it will be extraordinary for Romanian football, and for myself. 

"If we fail, you can forget about me for three months - I will hide in a monastery," he said. 

Greece have selection problems of their own, with captain Kostas Katsouranis also suspended after his booking in Athens. 

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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