Romania’s national football team Victor Piturca expressed extreme cautiousness before the two decisive matches in the play-offs against Greece for a place at the final tournament in Brazil next year.
“Greece will be extremely difficult, We’re the underdog, this is very clear to me. Greece are a very experienced team, with players who have managed plenty of successive wins and only lost one match in their qualifying group, They got 25 points and they’re ranked 15th in the world. In my opinion, that’s the hallmark of a formidable team”, Piturca told fifa.com after Monday’s draw in Zurich.
On the other side Greek coach Fernando Santos is more optimistic: “It will be an open qualifier, where both teams have the same ambitions and same capacities. Romania are a strong team which have grown in recent years and finally managed to reach the good level they had in the past. I say it’s going to be very difficult for both teams, but I truly believe that we can make it. Both games will be very competitive. My first thought when I saw Romania as our opponent? I thought that I had to study them very well, see as much as I can and identify their strengths and weaknesses. I don’t think it’s a big deal to play at home in the first leg. If I had to choose, I’d probably prefer to play the second leg at home, but it’s not significant. My message for Greek fans is: believe in this team and give us all of your support at the first leg, which will be a decisive match. We need that stadium to be full, to make it all together to Brazil.” The first game will take place in Greece on November 15th, while the second leg is to be played on the National Arena in Bucharest, on November 19th.
The toughest game in the play-offs seems to be Portugal vs Sweden. What is for sure is one of these two great players: Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not participate at the final tournament in Brazil. “CR7 and Zlatan? That is an extra bonus. These are two top stars and they are very important for their teams. This will be an extra match in the match”, said Erik Hamren, Sweden coach. Ukraine vs France and Island vs Croatia are the other games in the play-offs.