Ukraine challenge looms for Greece
The draw for the European Zone 2010 World Cup qualifying play-offs took place at the home of FIFA in Zurich last week, pairing up Greece and Eastern European giants Ukraine in the two-legged play-off match.
Beaten twice by eventual Group winners Switzerland, Greece had to settle for second place in Group 2 - a disappointment for the side that started out as pool favourites.
The 2004 European champions, who have just one World Cup finals appearance to their name, at USA 1994, will be banking on star striker Theofanis Gekas, the scorer of four goals in a 5-2 defeat of Latvia, to fire them to South Africa 2010.
Gekas was the top scorer in European qualifying and could be the joker in the pack of Otto Rehhagel’s deck of cards.
Ukraine, ranked just six places below the Greeks, staged a late charge in Group 6, beating Croatia to the line thanks in no small part to a 1-0 defeat of England in their penultimate outing.
The eastern Europeans have become play-off regulars, missing out on places at the 1998 and 2002 World Cup finals following two-legged defeats to the Croatians and Germany respectively.
They atoned for those narrow failures four years ago, earning a place at Germany 2006 by beating Greece 2-1 on aggregate, a result they would happy to repeat to give the long-serving Andriy Shevchenko one last crack at a major competition.
The play-offs will be contested on a two-legged, home-and-away basis on 14 and 18 November. Greece will host the first match at OAKA and will travel to Ukraine for the second leg.
The top four nations in the draw were seeded according to the latest edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, published on 16 October.
France (ranked number 9), Portugal (10), Russia (12) and Greece (16) were placed in Pot 1 and were drawn with the teams in Pot 2, Ukraine (22), Republic of Ireland (34), Bosnia Herzegovina (42) and Slovenia (49).
However, the ranking positions of the unseeded teams does not necessarily reflect their current form, as all four nations have claimed the runners-up spots in their groups with impressive and courageous qualifying campaigns, eliminating big-name former FIFA World Cup contenders such as Croatia, Czech Republic and Sweden along the way.
The team scoring more goals on aggregate wins the play-off. If the scores are level on aggregate, away goals count double.
If the teams are level on away goals, or if both matches end goalless, extra-time of two periods of 15 minutes each will be played at the end of the second match.
If the score is level after extra time, penalty kicks will be taken to determine the winner.
The winners of the four play-offs qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.
- Register Now
- Modern Greek tragedy
- Court orders Greek broadcaster ERT back on air
- Community condemns ERT closure
- Abusive crackdown on migrants
- Outstanding Greek Australians honoured
- Memories of an Egyptian multicultural society
- Xenophon warns of data sweep danger
- The thief strikes back
- ERT's demise impacts SBS
- Pandazopoulos gets marching orders
- 10 Jun 2013 | 17 Votes
- 28 May 2013 | 17 Votes
- 22 May 2013 | 16 Votes
- 30 May 2013 | 12 Votes
- 27 May 2013 | 7 Votes
- 11 Jun 2013 | 7 Votes
More from this Section
- Bomber coaching staff under the microscope
- FFA firm on match fixing
- Μισό εισιτήριο για Ολυμπιακό
- Η Λίβερπουλ καταθέτει πρόταση για Μιραλάς
- Steve Tasios
- South Melbourne remembers 1991
- Is he the Cannon's secret weapon?
- Bouzanis to recieve offer from Olympiakos
- Jesse Makarounas commits to Perth glory
- Burns fired up for Greek Cup
A conference about the Egyptian 'community of nations', that existed long before multiculturalism became popular in our vocabulary, is coming to Melbourne
Will the decision to close ERT bring down the Samaras government in Greece?
A celebration of one of the most influential literary figures produced by Greece
Jason Collins' announcement on April 29 2013 that he is gay marked a moment in America's sporting history, explores Steven Vasiliadis in this opinion piece
Jari-Matti Latvala victorious in his Volkswagen Polo R for the Acropolis Rally
Former Editor-in-Chief of Fairfax Community Newspapers in Victoria, Mitchell Murphy takes the FFV helm
But the goalkeeper won't join the A-League anytime soon
Civil service sackings among outstanding issues as troika returns to Greece for review
There is a lack of AFL short term on-field options for teams stagnant at the bottom of the mid-season ladder
The Socceroos were in form and unstopable during their World Cup qualifying match against Jordan
Greece has emerged as the cheapest holiday destination in the European south this month as far as accommodation is concerned, and the fourth in the whole of Europe
West Adelaide now sit on an eleven point lead at the top of the FFSA NPL State League table
Tuesday's qualifier will be another litmus test to see if the Australian team is good enough for the World Cup
A Greek court has ruled that closed-down state broadcaster ERT must reopen immediately, offering the squabbling ruling coalition a way out of a political crisis .
John Notaras, a leading light of one of Canberra's pioneering families has sadly passed away
The initiative of the Greek Government to shut down ERT in order to restructure the national television and radio broadcaster is already threatening the stability of the govt
The ingredients on Ikaria are very much like the rest of Greece, this recipe features two of the islands main and unique ingredients
Seven Greek Australians received Queen's Birthday Honours List awards, celebrating their commitment to philanthropy and the community