Greece vs. Romania, 2014 World Cup qualifying: Preview and TV schedule

Ian Walton

Greece head into their World Cup playoff first leg against Romania looking to extend their winning streak to seven games.

Goal difference alone agonisingly kept Greece from qualifying for Brazil 2014 automatically, and means they have to go through the stress of a playoff if they're to make it to their third World Cup. Drawn against Romania, they host the first leg on Friday, looking to extend their run of six straight victories.

Romania are certainly the underdogs having not qualified for a World Cup finals since 1998, though are currently undergoing something of a renewal under coach Victor Pițurcă. While Greece boss Fernando Santos has called up a pretty elderly squad, Romania's most famous star, Adrian Mutu, has been surprisingly left at home.

Greece will be without Schalke defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos through injury, though otherwise are looking good to go. Romania too are missing an important defender in Tottenham's Vlad Chiricheș, while goalkeeper Ciprian Tătărușanu has made the squad but is in doubt with injury. If he doesn't return to full fitness in time, Manchester City's new number one Costel Pantilimon could deputise.

Projected lineups

Greece: Orestis Karnezis; José Holebas, Dimitris Siovas, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Vasilis Torosidis; Giorgos Karagounis, Alexandros Tziolis, Panagiotis Kone; Giorgos Samaras, Kostas Mitroglou, Dimitris Salpingidis.

Romania: Ciprian Tătărușanu; Răzvan Raț, Florin Gardoș, Dorin Goian, Alexandru Mățel; Costin Lazăr, Alexandru Bourceanu; Bogdan Stancu, Cristian Tănase, Gabriel Torje; Ciprian Marica.

Match Date/Time: Friday, 9:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Karaiskakis Stadium, Athens, Greece

TV: Sportsnet Pacific (Canada), MEGA Channel (Greece), RTV Romania (Romania)

Online: WatchESPN (U.S.)

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