SPORTS

Mitroglou brace seals Greece's World Cup play-off spot

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

The national team did its duty on Tuesday and defeated visiting Gibraltar 4-0 in Piraeus to finish second in its World Cup qualifying group and advance to the play-offs in November for a ticket to the finals in Russia next summer.

Some 10,000 Greece fans (and a few dozen Gibraltar supporters) enjoyed a good enough performance by the Greek team at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, in spite of a rather nervous first half-hour.

Greece had to wait until the 32nd minute to open the score. Portuguese-born midfielder Carlos Zeca crossed the ball from the right into the six-yard box and experienced Vassilis Torosidis dived to head the ball in.

Then 10 seconds past the hour mark the Greeks passed the ball swiftly outside and inside the box, with Petros Mantalos feeding Costas Mitroglou and he scored Greece’s second goal.

A similar move two minutes on saw Costas Fortounis cross the ball to the path of Torosidis and he stroked the ball back to Mitroglou who powered it home for 3-0.

Substitute Yiannis Yianniotas made it four for Greece, after a great effort from the left by Costas Stafylidis who rushed to cross the ball before it went out of play and found Yianniotas in the box who headed it into the Gibraltar net on the 78th minute.

In the home-and-away play-offs next month Greece will face one of Italy, Denmark, Croatia and Switzerland. The draw will take place on October 17.

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