Greece head coach Fernando Santos believes the importance of his side's World Cup play-off with Romania stretches far beyond football.
While Romania head coach Victor Piturca lamented drawing the Greeks, Santos' focus was less on his team's opponents and more on the social and political ramifications for Greece.
The Greeks only lost once in qualification but missed out on an automatic qualifying spot by goal difference to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
With political and economic issues dominating headlines in Greece, Santos believes a play-off victory over Romania will provide a boost to the struggling nation.
"It is the most important, because it's very important for us, it's very important for the people, and my team and my players, and I'm sure they will try a lot to give this present," Santos said.
For Piturca, Monday's play-off draw could not have gone much worse as the 57-year-old Romanian had hoped to avoid Greece.
Romania could have otherwise drawn Croatia, Portugal or Ukraine.
"This is not the team who I wanted to draw," Piturca said.
"Greece is 15th in the FIFA rankings.
"They are is a very strong team with good players.
"They got 25 points in their group and tied with Bosnia.
"This is a team that always plays to win."
Piturca argued his Romanian side's main focus is to qualify for the next European Championships but maintained they will not give up an opportunity to play in next year's World Cup finals lightly.
"We are a young team that does not have much experience," Piturca said.
"Our main goal is to qualify for Euro 2016 in France but we managed to play in these play-offs. We will play to qualify."
Santos' only other appearance at a major international tournament with Greece came in 2012, as his team proceeded to the quarter-finals of the European Championships.
Santos would love to emulate that achievement in Brazil but he did admit that before his side are to be successful, he needs to do his homework on opponents Romania.
"I think the most important thing is to learn Romania, because I don't know many things about Romania, and I need to learn much," the 59-year-old said.
"After that my team is ready to play this game, because these two games are very important for us."
The two sides will meet on November 15 in Greece, before they travel to Romania for the second leg, just four days later.
|K. Mitroglou||14' 66'|
|Coach: Fernando Santos|
for G. Maniatis 77'
for K. Mitroglou 80'
for K. Katsouranis 86'
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