A battle for the first place in Group G
Bosnia Herzegovina and Greece will meet again today in a very importnant match for their future in the World Cup competition. Both teams hold the first place in Group G but the home team has a better goal difference (goals 15-2 vs. 5-1 for Greece) and they practically need only a draw today to keep it. The players of Mr. Santos know very well that the only way for Greece to get the first place will be by winning the match at Zenica. Regardless of the final result both teams willl have five more matches with Slovakia (currently third and only three points away) waiting to make some damage in any of them.
About Bosnia Herzegovina
There is one thing certain about today’s battle; the winner can only be the team that will show more passion and determination for the win. Stadion Bilino Polje is expected to be crowded with almost 16.000 fans making a fantastic atmosphere for Bosnia Herzegovina. After 15 goals in four matches (practically in three because the away match against Greece ended 0-0) the home team is expected to look for a convincing win that will stenghten their advantage for the first place. The coach, Mr. Sušić stated that this will be a difficult match for his team and that they will be after the win although the draw can be a satisfying result. The 22 year old midefielder Miralem Pjanić (18 app/3 goals with AS Roma) iwill be the only important absence for the home side because of an injury.
Coach Santos was very clear in his statements for this match. He acknowledged that the home team is a strong opponent but he also said that if his players will have the concentration and passion for the win that he wants, Greece will get a positive result. Like every time, he did not reveal his starting lineup and the last training was open to the press for only the first 20 minutes. The rest was held behind closed doors so we can only speculate about the players that will start today’s match. The latest reports say that the coach has spent a lot of time preparing his players for the fanatic atmosphere they are expected to face at Zenica. According gazzeta.gr one of the things that were used to motivate the players for this match were some recent statements by Mr. Sušić who had characterized Greece as the luckiest team in the world for their ability to win or avoid the defeat in matches where they do not deserve a positive result.
Here are some facts we need to consider…
The Standings in Group G after four matches
Bosnia Herzegovina: 10 pts (GD +13)
Greece: 10 pts (GD +4)
Slovakia: 7 pts (GD +2)
Lithuania: 4 pts (GD -3)
Latvia: 3 pts (GD -3)
Liechtenstein: 0 pts (GD -13)
The remaining matches for Bosnia Herzegovina
Latvia (Away), Slovakia (Home), Slovakia (Away), Liechtenstein (Home), Liechtenstein (Away)
The remaining matches for Greece
Lithuania (Away), Liechtenstein (Away), Latvia (Home), Slovakia (Home), Lichtenstein (Home)
As you can see Bosnia Herzegovina has relatively harder schedule with three matches away and two matches against Slovakia. At the same time Greece has three matches held at home and they will face Slovakia in one of them.
The history between the two teams
Wins for Bosnia Herzegovina: 0
Wins for Greece: 4
I expect the home side and their coach to try to prove that Greece is just a lucky team. Normally they will add a lot of pressure to take the lead in the score and the help of their fanatic crowd can make things even worse for Greece. However there is something that most people cannot understand for this team. The results of Greece are not a quincidence or a matter of luck. The players are always confident for a positive result and this is clearly shown in their play. If the better team would always win, soccer would not be so interesting. If the better team would always win, Greece would not have won Portugal (twce), France and Czech Republic in Euro 2004. Soccer is a sport where tactics and expensive players are not enough when the opponent has the belief for the win. Whether some people like it or not Greece is like that. They might not have the best roster, they might not even perform that good in some of their matches, but all the players have the attitude needed to get the results they want when it is needed.
To make things short, Bosnia will open too much today looking for the win. Mr. Santos and the players expect it and they will wait for a chance to punish the home team and leave Zenica with a positive result. Considering the schedule of the two teams I’d say that a draw can be as good for Greece who is fond of getting positive results when the bookies treat them as underdogs.
Coyote’s bet: Greece (+0.5) to win @ 1.90
Things will not be easy for the win but the players of Mr. Santos can avoid the defeat today.
Other bets and tips
The win of Greece is offered by some bookies in odds above 4.00. The higher odd that I saw was @ 4.33. I might not be so optimistic but the win of Greece @ 4.33 is a value bet no matter what happens today.