“What FIFA did was not right. FIFA sometimes takes some ‘special’ decisions. And this is “special’,” Skibbe told reporters.
FIFA’s disciplinary committee on Friday handed Manolas a one-match suspension after he was adjudged to have deliberately got himself booked for time wasting in Greece’s 2-1 win in Cyprus last month.
That yellow card triggered a ban which Manolas served in Greece’s final group game – a 4-0 victory over Gibraltar – but the 26-year-old will now also miss the trip to Zagreb.
“So Manolas got a yellow card and did not play against Gibraltar. And now FIFA has decided four weeks later to punish him for something that all players do.” Even without Manolas in the starting line-up and despite some injuries, Skibbe said his team will be ready for the encounter with Croatia.
“We will be ready, we have been working for the last two years to go to Russia. Croatia has a good team but we will do our best with the players we have to qualify,” he said.
The first leg of the playoff games between Greece and Croatia is held in Zagreb on Nov.9 and the second will be played in Piraeus on Nov.12.