Greece is practically out of the running for a place in the 2022 World Cup after conceding a late equalizer at Kosovo on Sunday, with a 1-1 final score being no more than what the Greek national team actually deserved from the game.
The team of coach John van’t Schip played a poor game against a rather mediocre opponent, but still came close to snatching victory – however justice was served in time added on.
It took 45 minutes for the national team to create its first goal scoring chance. Yet in the first-half injury time a great through ball by captain Tasos Bakasetas split open the Kosovo defense to put Tasos Douvikas with only the keeper to beat. The youngster made no mistake from just inside the box to give the Greeks the lead.
Halfway through the second half Greece dropped back to preserve its lead, committing its biggest mistake as it allowed the hosts to resume control of the game and put great pressure on the Greek defense.
Greece’s manager chose to end the match with four central defenders, meaning there was no pressure in midfield for the hosts who started pounding their visitors and were vindicated for that.
On the second minute of injury time a cross was completely missed by the Greek defense and keeper Odysseas Vlachodimos, with Vedat Muriqi heading the ball home beating Giorgos Tzavellas in the air.
Up next Greece is hosting Sweden in Athens on Wednesday, but the ship has all but sailed for the Greeks, who have three points from as many games. Spain, 4-0 winners over Georgia Sunday, lead Group B with ten points from five games, one ahead of Sweden which has two games in hand and is the only other undefeated team in the Group besides Greece. Kosovo is third with four points in four games and Georgia has a single point from five games.
Only the top team automatically qualifies for the tournament in Qatar in November 2022 with the group runners-up having to go through playoffs.