National football team of Romania will play against Greece for a ticket to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil according to the play-off draw in Zurich on Monday, according to fifa.com. Helping with the draw for the two-legged play-offs was Swiss veteran of two World Cups Alexander Frei.
The first leg will be played on November 15 in Greece while the decisive match will take place on November 19 on the National arena in Bucharest.
Ciprian Marica, national team forward told Digisport after the draw: “We can say that we are lucky giving the fact that there were much better teams in the Pot 1, but we must not underestimate the Greek national team. They have a very strong defence and let’s not forget that they were European champions in 2004”.
Claudiu Keseru, national team player said: “We avoided Portugal, that’s an advantage. The fact that we will play the decisive game in Bucharest is also an advantage”.
Gheorghe Hagi, former star of the national team in the ‘90s said : “We are close to the final tournament. We have equal chances with Greece. We have to be careful because they know how to defend, they took very few goals in the groups stage”.
A similar opinion was expressed by the former captain of the national team in the ‘90s, Gica Popescu: “We got lucky but there will be two difficult games. Greece has a very strong defense and they are dangerous in counterattack. It’s a huge opportunity for Romania to go back in the World football elite”.
Greece scored 12 goals and took only 4 in the group stage, playing in Group G, against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Lichtenstein. They were second with 25 points, the same as the winner of the group Bosnia Herzegovina.
Romania were second in Group D, with The Netherlands, Hungary, Turkey, Estonia and Andorra. They scored 19 goals and took 12.
The other games in the play-offs: Portugal-Sweden, Ukraine – France and Iceland – Croatia. The seeded nations were: Portugal (ranked 14), Greece (15), Croatia (18) and Ukraine (20). The unseeded teams were France (21), Sweden (25), Romania (29) and Iceland (46).