Greece VS Bosnia and Herzegovina Prediction
Group H of the 2018 FIFA World Cup European Qualifiers seems to represent the most balanced match-up on Sunday night, 13 November 2016, when Greece and visitors from Bosnia and Herzegovina will play their fourth qualifying match at the “Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis” in Piraeus. Belgium looks as the most impressive name in that group but after opening three rounds Greece strives to compete with “The Red Devils”, as both sides have won the maximum set of points possible – 9 out of 9. Bosnia and Herzegovina remains one step behind, occupying the third position, having 6 points after two victories and a heavy defeat in Belgium.
Head-to-head record (H2H): Greece vs Bosnia and Herzegovina – Team News and Match Preview
Both teams have really impressive head-to-head history for the relatively short time after foundation of the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. For period since then to nowadays, Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina were twice opponents in different World Cup qualifiers (1998 and 2014), as well as facing against each other in the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying. Besides their six competitive encounters, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece met at the “Olympic Stadium” in Sarajevo for a friendly match in August 2011, but game has ended with a boring draw.
This was not the only goalless draw between both nations, since it has been followed by another one more than an year later, when Greeks were hosts of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier. It was once again held in Piraeus, but this was first competitive slip for Greece against Bosnian team after four successive victories in all previous qualifying matches.
First and also only win for “The Dragons” came during their last match from March 2013, when “The Piratiko” suffered a shipwreck – 3-1 for Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zenica. Two of the goals were scored by Edin Dzeko, Vedad Ibisievic netted one more, while Theofanis Gekas has scored a consolation goal for Greece in stoppage time.
That defeat was the main reason why “The Golden Lilies” were above Greece in the final standings, although both sides had same number of points – 25. Bosnia and Herzegovina have had not only better goal difference, but advantage in the direct encounters. Thus Greece had to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup via playoffs, while in other camp Safet Susic became first ever coach in Bosnian football history who has reached a major football tournament with the national team.
Greece vs Bosnia and Herzegovina – Team News and Match Preview
Traveling to Greece will be second major outing for “The Golden Lilies” in their qualifying campaign, as their previous one ended with a 4-0 defeat at the “Stade Roi Baudouin” in Belgian capital Brussels. Thus Belgium have shown they’re the main contender and other teams in qualifying group H must comply with their form and amazing squad depth. However, Bosnia and Herzegovina found a way to bounce back only few days later and that happened on home turf – with a 2-0 victory against Cyprus. That was second home success for Mehmed Bazdarevic’s men as they’ve started the 2018 World Cup qualifiers with a 5-0 win against Estonia back in September.
Greece have been flawless in all qualifying rounds so far and Michael Skibbe’s side shows enthusiasm inspired by their extremely poor performances in the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying. “Piratiko” looks eager to return on the main stage and this can happen if Greece finds right approach to overcame Belgium and their current opposition, or with other words – to finish on top of the group. After three wins in first three games their ambition can be backed by results, but we must underline that only few days ago Greece suffered disappointing defeat from Belarus in a friendly match at the same venue, on Wednesday night. Of course, we cannot compare friendlies with those vital qualifying matches and Greece shows decent form after winning over Gibraltar (4-1), Cyprus (2-0) and Estonia (2-0).
In fact defeat by Belarus has ended a five-game unbeaten run for the Greeks, starting with two 2-1 victories against Australia and the Netherlands, respectively in June and September.
Greece vs Bosnia and Herzegovina – Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
Greece is ready for its second home fixture in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying schedule and Michael Skibbe’s men must forget about that midweek defeat from Belarus as soon as possible. Skibbe strives to become second successful German coach of the Greece national football team after his compatriot Otto Rehhagel, who left a glorious trace in Greek history.
First few rounds may carry only positive influence to the home side and Greece’s confidence can receive extra boost from their home balance against Bosnia and Herzegovina – two wins and a draw.
AS Roma’s centre-back Kostas Manolas looks the only notable absence for Greece, as the 25-year-old defender can be replaced from someone between Kyriakos Papadopoulos or Marios Oikonomou. Otherwise we don’t expect any major rotations in Greek starting XI and Michael Skibbe will most likely stick to same 4-2-3-1 formation, which he used in all previous qualifiers.
Mehmed Bazdarevic is not expected to take any unforeseen risks here, like he did in Belgium. Bosnian coach tried to stop Belgian attacking potential with a 3-4-1-2 formation, but that was total disaster and we can easily make our conclusions from the result. Obviously line with four defenders and only two centre-backs looks as the most optimal choice suitable for current selection, so we expect experienced defender Emir Spahic in the starting squad again. Toni Sunjic, Ermin Bicakcic and Ervin Zukanovic can compete for second spot in heart of Bosnia’s defense, while Ognjen Vranjes and Sead Kolasinac look certain for their positions on both flanks.
Bazdarevic may start with the preferred 4-4-2 formation featuring Edin Dzeko and someone from Vedad Ibisevic or Milan Djuric on top of the attack. Nevertheless, that formation may be too risky against team like Greece and we won’t be surprised if “The Golden Lilies” play with 4-2-3-1 formation – featuring 23-year-old central midfielder of Greek PAOK Gojko Cimirot next to Haris Medunjanin, while Miralem Pjanic can be moved behind the striker. Meanwhile Senad Lulic and Edin Visca look essential on both wings and their starting positions (if they’re fit enough, of course) should be out of question.
Final conclusion and Betting Prediction
New generation of Greek footballers has a long way to go before even getting closer to the remarkable achievements of previous generation, but there’s surely light in tunnel, according to their previous results. We can say that qualifiers for the UEFA Euro 2016 finals were in moment of transition and appointment of Michael Skibbe seems to be a wise move by Hellenic Football Federation so far. We all know Greek football mentality and that’s why odds for a home win represent great value in our eyes, but anyhow, we recommend betting for Greece with the Asian Handicap 0 (Draw No Bet) on them. Odds are still decent and we have some extra insurance in case that both teams decide to leave intrigue for the upcoming qualifying rounds.
Venue: “Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis”, Piraeus.
Referee: Jonas Eriksson from Sweden.
Possible lineups of Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina
Greece: Orestis Karnezis – Vasilis Torosidis, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Sokratis, Kostas Stafylidis – Andreas Samaris, Giannis Maniatis – Petros Mantalos, Kostas Fortounis, Tasos Bakasetas – Kostas Mitroglou. (4-2-3-1)
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Asmir Begovic – Sead Kolasinac, Emir Spahic, Ervin Zukanovic, Ognjen Vranjes – Haris Medunjanin, Gojko Cimirot – Senad Lulic, Miralem Pjanic, Edin Visca – Edin Dzeko. (4-2-3-1)