Sead Kolasinac and Konstantinos Mavropanos helped their countries to clean sheets in vital wins for their World Cup hopes.

Konstantinos Mavropanos in training with the Greece national team (Photo via Mavropanos on Twitter)
Konstantinos Mavropanos in training with the Greece national team (Photo via Mavropanos on Twitter)

With France in Bosnia & Herzegovina’s group and Spain in Greece’s, Sead Kolasinac and Konstantinos Mavropanos really have their work cut out to try and make it to the 2022 World Cup.

Their most realistic hope is finishing second in the group and qualifying via the play-offs, but even that is a long shot. They have to overtake Ukraine and Sweden respectively, two countries that made the knockout stages of this year’s Euros.

As a result, neither could afford to drop points against Kazakhstan and Georgia on Saturday.

Kolasinac and Bosnia were up first, travelling away to Kazakhstan. The Arsenal full-back was playing at wing-back on this occasion, and he created a couple of chances in his country’s 2-0 win.

The 28-year-old also made two interceptions and three tackles on the defensive end to secure the three points. They now sit two points off second place in the group with a game in hand.

UEFA World Cup Qualifying Group D standings via SofaScore.com
UEFA World Cup Qualifying Group D standings via SofaScore.com

Mavropanos then travelled to Georgia, and despite another 2-0 scoreline, this one was far less comfortable.

It was only thanks to a VAR intervention in the 88th minute that Greece finally took the lead with a penalty in the 90th, and they doubled their lead in the 95th.

The Arsenal loan centre-back didn’t have much work to do on the defensive end, but he completed 89% of his passes and six of nine long balls in possession.

Greece are now also just a few points behind second place in their group, though they don’t have a game in hand. Their big opportunity is the fact they play Sweden on Tuesday, and could catch them with a win.

UEFA World Cup Qualifying Group B standings via SofaScore.com
UEFA World Cup Qualifying Group B standings via SofaScore.com
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