Greece squad for World Cup Playoff vs. Croatia

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Greece boss Michael Skibbe is sweating over the fitness of Borussia Dortmund centre-half Sokratis Papastathopoulos amidst a minor defensive crisis in his World Cup Playoff squad.

Sokratis lasted just 42 minutes in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich on the weekend, casting a cloud of doubt over his availability for the first leg of the World Cup Playoff against Croatia on Thursday.

Add that to a first-leg suspension for AS Roma’s Kostas Manolas, who received a retroactive ban from FIFA by deliberately seeking a yellow card in the Cyprus vs. Greece qualifier last month, and Greece’s first-choice defensive partnership could both be missing in their most important game of the year.

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Greece’s chances of World Cup Qualification will largely fall on the shoulders of Olympique Marseille striker Kostas Mitroglou, who topped their scoring charts with six goals from eight appearances in qualifying. With 16 goals from 56 appearances for The Ethniki, he is the joint-eighth highest goalscorer in Greece’s history.

Experienced full-back Vassilis Torosidis is another doubt to add to Michael Skibbe’s list, but the German has compensated by calling up two additional defenders: Panathinaikos’ Dimitris Kolovetsios and SPAL’s Marios Oikonomou.

Greece travel to Zagreb for the first leg on Thursday before a return leg in Athens on Sunday.

Greece World Cup Playoff Squad

Goalkeepers: Orestis Karnezis, Stefanos Kapino, Giannis Anestis

Defenders: Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Kostas Manolas, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Vassilis Torosidis, Kostas Stafylidis, Marios Oikonomou, Dimitris Kolovetsios, Georgios Tzavellas, Panagiotis Retsos, Charalampos Lykogiannis

Midfielders: Andreas Samaris, Panagiotis Tachtsidis, Giannis Maniatis, Zeca, Alexandros Tziolis, Dimitrios Kourmpelis, Kostas Fortounis, Dimitris Pelkas, Anastasios Bakasetas, Lazaros Christodoulopoulos

Forwards: Kostas Mitroglou, Dimitrios Diamantakos, Giannis Gianniotas, Apostolos Vellios

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