World Cup play-off: Romania striker Razvan Cocis confident ahead of Greece date
Last Updated: 15/11/13 7:14pm
Vlad Chiriches: Tottenham defender will be missing for Romania
Romania striker Razvan Cocis believes his team-mates have what it takes to crack one of the meanest defences in the business and book their nation's place in the World Cup finals for the first time since 1998.
Romania take on Greece in Athens on Friday in the first of their two-legged play-off to determine which team will go to Brazil next summer and Cocis is well aware of the size of the task ahead.
Greece missed out on an automatic place in Brazil after finishing runners-up to Bosnia in Group G but they emerged with their reputation for strong defence intact after conceding just four goals in their 10 group games.
Cocis told reporters: "This is without doubt the most important and challenging tie of our careers. We really want to get to the World Cup and we will play with all our strength to get there.
"We know Greece's style of play - it is a team that plays defensively and tries to wait for its opponents to make a mistake and capitalise. Our goal is to score in the first game, but even if we draw 0-0 it is a good result for us."
Victor Piturca's side have been hit with a series of blows in the build-up to the game with captain Vlad Chiriches ruled out of the first leg with a nose injury while midfielder Mihai Pintilii was injured on Champions League duty last week.
In addition, regular number one goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu is still struggling to shake off a back injury and new Manchester City No.1 Costel Pantilimon has been called in as a potential replacement.
Piturca said: "Greece are an extremely strong and pragmatic team who play in a remarkable way in order to get results. But we will have our chances and we will go for it."
Greece coach Fernando Santos has emphasised his team's defensive capabilities in the build-up to the first leg and believes his experienced players will hold the key to victory.
Santos said: "We have a lot of experienced players who will know how to win the first match without conceding a goal. The Romanians are an excellent team, but I believe we will be the ones to make it through."
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
|1||Bosnia and Herzegovina||10||25|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I
World Cup 2014
Neymar has admitted that five-time World Cup winners Brazil have fallen into the slipstream of the leading nations.
FIFA has lifted a ban imposed on the Nigeria Football Federation due to government interference.
The World Cup was an undoubted success for FIFA on the field. But how did the organisation fare off the pitch this summer?
- Scolari departure confirmed
- Messi award surprises Blatter
- Opta World Cup facts
- World Cup dream XI
- Scolari 'out as Brazil coach'
- Fred retires from Brazil duty
- Robben proud of Netherlands
- Scolari stays quiet on future
- Netherlands beat sorry Brazil
- Whelan 'not running away'
- Neymar's agent: Scolari a jerk
- Neville: Positives for England
- Neymar reveals wheelchair fear
- Mascherano magic
- Mascherano magic
- Sterling to learn from Brazil