Greece seize control at Croatia's expense

Greece took a massive step towards securing their place at next year's UEFA EURO 2012 with a 2-0 win over Croatia in Group F tonight. The home side went into the game a point behind their opponents, but knew a victory would leave them needing just a point away to Georgia on Tuesday to qualify top of the group, and that was what they achieved.

Georgios Samaras opened the scoring after 70 minutes and Theofanis Gekas secured the three points eight minutes later. Greece remain unbeaten with six wins and three draws from nine games giving them a two-point lead over Croatia at the top of the group.

The game was slow to begin, with Croatia's Eduardo having the first meaningful effort after 20 minutes with a 20-yard shot which was tipped around the post by Alexandros Tzorvas. At the other end Socratis Papastathopoulos also tried his luck from distance, but saw his shot held by Stipe Pletikosa.

Clear-cut chances were hard to come by and Mario Mandzukic was the next player to shoot from long-range, only to fire over the bar. The best chance of the first half fell to Avraam Papadopoulos, but his close-range header was saved by Pletikosa.

A goalless draw was looking the most likely result until Samaras found some space in the area to fire home from 12 yards and open the scoring. And Gekas sealed the win soon after, heading home from six yards from Giorgos Karagounis' right-wing cross.