Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis has retired from international football following his country's FIFA World Cup™ elimination.
A penalty shoot-out defeat to Costa Rica ended Greece's run in Brazil at the last-16 stage on Sunday night. Karagounis told reporters after the game: "This was my last game for Greece. We wanted to stay in Brazil another week or even longer but you can't change it now."
The defeat ended Greece's bid for another unlikely tournament success following their UEFA Euro 2004 triumph. Karagounis, who ends his international career with 139 caps and ten goals to his name, and Kostas Katsouranis were the only two survivors from that tournament in the 2014 squad.
"You don't always get such breaks in life but our heads are high," said Karagounis after his side's elimination. "These games and experiences are a great launching pad for the future. They will help keep the team on this level, something not always easy. We are Greece after all, we don't have many means.
"The national team has grown up, younger players have won invaluable experiences. This is no small thing and as we helped the team come of age we hope it will continue to be as successful in the future."
It was also coach Fernando Santos' final game with Greece, with his contract expiring following the World Cup. Greece forced extra time, and ultimately penalties, in injury time as defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored his first international goal to cancel out Bryan Ruiz's opener for Costa Rica.
But Theofanis Gekas had his penalty saved by Keylor Navas, enabling Michael Umana to win it for the Central Americans.