Greece will participate at next summer's finals in Brazil after a 1-1 draw in their 2014 FIFA World Cup play-off second leg with Romania earned them a 4-2 aggregate victory.
Vassilis Torossidis's 55th-minute own goal may have given Romania a glimmer of hope by cancelling out Kostas Mitroglou's 23rd-minute opener, but there was to be no dramatic fightback in Bucharest. Indeed, Fernando Santos's side were rarely troubled as they strolled into only their third World Cup finals.
Aware that their away goal in Piraeus on Friday could prove decisive, Romania took the game to their opponents. But after weathering the initial storm, it was Greece that dominated, keen to swell their 3-1 aggregate advantage. Goalkeeper Ciprian Tătăruşanu saved well from José Holebas's angled drive and Giorgios Samaras headed narrowly wide before the breakthrough.
Predictably, it was the prolific Mitroglou that got the opener midway through the first half. The striker, who scored twice in Greece's first-leg win, had all the time in the world after springing the offside trap and made it count, carefully picking out the bottom corner with a cool finish. It was his 23rd goal in all competitions this season and Tătăruşanu had no chance.
Ten minutes into the second period, Romania were handed the most unlikely lifeline. Alexandru Maxim's clever dummy caused chaos on the edge of the Greece area and Torossidis hooked his hurried attempted clearance into the top corner of his own goal.
Orestis Karnezis saved well from Ovidiu Hoban as Romania attacked furiously in a bid to wipe out the two-goal deficit, but that was their only clear-cut opportunity against a resilient Greek defence that stood strong to earn the spoils.
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|12||Ciprian Tătăruşanu (GK)||1||Orestis Karnezis (GK)|
|2||Alexandru Măţel||2||Giannis Maniatis|
|6||Vlad Chiricheş (C)||6||Alexandros Tziolis|
|8||Ovidiu Hoban||7||Giorgios Samaras|
|9||Ciprian Marica||9||Kostas Mitroglou|
|10||Cristian Tănase||10||Giorgos Karagounis (C)|
|15||Dorin Goian||15||Vassilis Torossidis|
|20||Alexandru Maxim||20||José Holebas|
|1||Bogdan Lobonţ (GK)||12||Stefanos Kapino (GK)|
|23||Costel Pantilimon (GK)||13||Michalis Sifakis (GK)|
|4||Srgian Luchin||3||Giorgos Tzavellas|
|5||Florin Gardoş||4||Kostas Manolas|
|13||Dragoş Grigore||11||Loukas Vyntra|
|16||Bănel Nicoliţă||17||Fanis Gekas|
|17||Valerică Găman||18||Sotiris Ninis|
|21||Răzvan Cociş||22||Kostas Fortounis|
|22||Claudiu Keșerü||23||Panagiotis Tachtsidis|
|Victor Piţurcă (ROU)||Fernando Santos (POR)|
|Milorad Mažić (SRB)|
|Milovan Ristić (SRB), Dalibor Djurdjević (SRB)|
|Boško Jovanetić (SRB)|