Tzolis marks Greece return with crucial contribution
- Credit: PA
Christos Tzolis marked his return to full fitness with a vital assist as Greece recorded a pivotal 2-1 victory over Sweden to revive their World Cup qualification aspirations.
The 19-year-old winger has been nursing a calf injury preventing him from featuring for Norwich City after an explosive debut where he netted twice and recorded as many assists during their 6-0 League Cup victory over Bournemouth.
Despite fitness concerns, Tzolis did link up with his country although failed to feature in their previous two fixtures.
He returned to full training earlier this week and made the bench as John van 't Schip's men searched for a much-needed victory over a Sweden side that boasted a 100% record during their qualification campaign prior to this fixture.
Tzolis was introduced at 71 minutes with Greece leading 1-0 after Andreas Bouchalakis gave them the lead nine minutes earlier.
It took City's winger just three minutes to make an impact. He was played in behind the Sweden backline and used his pace to stride away from their defenders. Instead of opting to shoot, he unselfishly squared for Vangelis Pavlidis to double their advantage. After a lengthy VAR check for offside, the goal was awarded.
Tzolis had a glorious chance to add gloss to a performance that will ease the growing pressure on his international coach late on. The forward picked up the ball in his own half in stoppage time and drove towards goal. His shot was deflected over by Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof.
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Along with others who have featured for their respective national teams this week, Tzolis will report back to Colney and link up with his City teammates in time to face Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday.
His Canaries colleague Dimitris Giannoulis was a noticeable absentee in the Greek line-up after reportedly picking up a neck injury during training. The left-back withdrew from practice on Tuesday after feeling pain.
That will make him a doubt for Saturday's trip to the Emirates, with City boss Daniel Farke expected to deliver a full fitness bulletin at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Elsewhere, Milot Rashica played the entirety of Kosovo's 2-0 defeat to Spain in Prishtina. They are in the same group as Greece and sit two points behind them having played a game more.
City striker Josh Sargent is set to be involved for the USA in the early hours of Thursday evening as they travel to Honduras for their latest World Cup qualifier. Kick off is at 3.30am UK time, just over 48 hours before Norwich travel to the capital.