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Croatia hope for better as Greece prove point

Captain Darijo Srna told UEFA.com he hoped "the fans will not be too disappointed" by Croatia's 0-0 draw with Greece, a result his opponent Giorgos Karagounis called a "great success".

Croatia hope for better as Greece prove point
Croatia hope for better as Greece prove point ©UEFA.com

The small pocket of travelling fans cheered their team off the pitch after Greece's 0-0 draw in Croatia in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, but for the home crowd at Zagreb's Stadion Maksimir the final whistle heralded disappointment.

Top seeds in Group F, Croatia were favourites to win on Tuesday after a comfortable 3-0 victory in Latvia four nights before, yet despite having the lion's share of possession against Greece they failed to score.

Captain Darijo Srna, who had struck the third goal in Riga, acknowledged the home supporters' dissatisfaction, telling UEFA.com: "I hope the fans will not be too disappointed, and that they continue to follow the matches. We tried as much as possible, but unfortunately we could not score."

The Maksimir can be an intimidating place for visiting sides but Greece's defence, anchored by centre-backs Avraam Papadopoulos and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, passed the test. Croatia coach Slaven Bilić offered congratulations to Greece and called the match a "fair fight".

"I'm not sure if our fans were whistling because they were unhappy with the result or how we played," Bilić said. "We started well and for the first 15 minutes we played exactly as we wanted. In the second half too we dominated and created enough opportunities to win but we didn't have luck. As Georgia have shown [with a 1-1 draw in Greece], the group is not easy, it's hard work."

Playmaker Luka Modrić, back from a thigh injury which had sidelined him against Latvia, also complimented Greece but said his team-mates were frustrated by the result. "We are not satisfied with one point. We wanted to win but we failed," he told UEFA.com. "There are a lot of games to come, so nothing is lost yet. The Greeks played very well tactically. We will fight for first place though."

Georgios Samaras came close to snatching a first-half goal for Greece with a curling shot past goalkeeper Vedran Runje that flew narrowly wide. "We arrived in Zagreb determined not to lose and we succeeded," said the striker. "We played in a very disciplined way. They were very dangerous at the beginning of each half and it was crucial we survived those periods."

After Greece had let Georgia take a point home from Piraeus on Friday, captain Giorgos Karagounis was in no doubt his team's second consecutive draw was a point gained. "We proved to everyone and to ourselves that we can achieve a good result against a strong side, 0-0 is a great success," Karagounis said.