World Cup play-off: Romania v Greece preview
Greece will be favourites to secure a World Cup place as they head to Romania with a comfortable lead.
Last Updated: 19/11/13 9:47am
Greece will be favourites to secure a World Cup place as they head to Romania on Tuesday night for the second leg of their qualification play-off with a comfortable lead (kick-off 7pm).
The Greeks overcame their rivals 3-1 when they met in Athens last week and will be expected to hold on to complete the job in the return fixture in Bucharest.
The performance maintained Greece's strong form from their regular qualifying programme, in which they won eight out of 10 Group G matches only to finish second to Bosnia on goal difference.
Yet, despite their advantage and strong defensive reputation, the side's Portuguese coach Fernando Santos will be taking nothing for granted.
Santos told reporters after the first leg: "Although we are ahead in the tie we still need to go to Romania with a focused mindset as everything will be decided then. Nothing is over yet.
"We are at half-time in the tie so there is still plenty of work to do and we'll have to show the same appetite and concentration in the second leg, so we don't throw away what we have built on in Athens.
"Our focus will be to keep a clean sheet because if we concede an early goal it will create problems for us."
Romania will hope Tottenham's Vlad Chiriches can return to bolster their defence after missing the match in Greece due to a fractured nose.
The 24-year-old could play wearing a protective mask.
In his absence, the Romanian defence conceded twice to Olympiakos forward Konstantinos Mitroglu and once to Dimitrios Salpingidis to leave themselves facing an uphill struggle.
Romania's goal, from lone striker Bogdan Stancu of Genclerbirligi, was the first Greece had conceded since March.
Ciprian Marica could join Stancu up front in a more attacking formation in the second leg.
Regular first choice Ciprian Tatarusanu could also return in goal in place of Bogdan Lobont but midfielders Alexandru Bourceanu and Costin Lazar are suspended.
Greece also have a notable absentee through suspension after captain Kostas Katsouranis was booked in the first leg.
Greece, the Euro 2004 champions, are bidding to reach their second successive World Cup while Romania are hoping to qualify for the first time since 1998.
Romania coach Victor Piturca said: "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."