Second-half goals from Nikos Spyropoulos and Fanis Gekas rescued Greece, as Fernando Santos' men were forced to come from behind against Latvia in Riga.
The UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-finalists were given a shock in qualifying Group G, as Aleksandrs Cauņa's penalty took the hosts into the break ahead. However, Spyropoulos's spectacular effort, and Gekas's neat finish ensured a winning start for the Greeks.
Looking to repeat their appearance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the visitors started at a high tempo and Gekas almost took advantage, but the Levante UD forward headed over when well positioned seven minutes in. Giannis Maniatis seemed certain to put Greece ahead but volleyed on to the post before Latvia hit back. Aleksejs Višņakovs' rapid run down the left took him into the area, only to be brought down by Kyriakos Papadopoulos, allowing Cauņa to score from the spot on 42 minutes.
Maniatis and substitute Giorgos Samaras went close early in the second half, but it was from the unexpected source of Spyropoulos from where the equaliser came – the Panathinaikos FC defender blasting in from distance to leave Andris Vaņins helpless on 57 minutes. The turnaround was complete 12 minutes later, as Kostas Katsouranis took advantage of a loose pass at the back from Latvia, and played in Gekas to win it for Greece.