Orestis Karnezis’ bad week continued as an abject defensive display from Greece saw them crash to a 4-1 defeat in Croatia in the first leg of their World Cup play-off.

Fresh from his Premier League debut to forget in Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Everton, the on-loan Watford keeper handed the Croats the initiative when he miscontrolled a back pass and his lunging attempt to retrieve the situation saw him concede a 13th-minute penalty which Luka Modric converted.

An unmarked Nikola Kalinic doubled the hosts’ lead six minutes later and although Sokratis Papastathopolus gave the Greeks hope with a fine header on the half-hour, the two-goal margin was quickly restored as Ivan Perisic was afforded far too much space to head in the third.

Karnezis was exposed by more shocking defending four minutes after the restart when Konstantinos Stafylidis’ attempt to chest the ball back to his keeper fell short, Sime Vrsaljko stole in and presented Andrej Kramaric with a tap-in for the fourth.

The scale of the defeat has left the Greeks with a huge task for Sunday’s second leg, with a 3-0 win needed to see them qualify for Russia on away goals.

Costel Pantilimon had a happier time of it yesterday, albeit in the less pressurised environment of a friendly, as Romania beat Turkey.

The 30-year-old, who is on loan at Deportivo La Coruna, played the first 70 minutes as a brace from Gheorghe Grozav secured the win.