FIFA World Cup™ finals history
At the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, Greece reached the Round of 16 for the first time ever after finishing behind group winners Colombia on four points. They narrowly missed out on a place in the quarter-finals following a 5-3 penalty shoot-out defeat to Costa Rica, having drawn the Central Americans 1-1. Greece were forced to pack their bags after the group stage in their two previous tournament appearances, USA 1994 and South Africa 2010, only managing to record one other victory at those competitions combined: a 2-1 triumph over Nigeria at the latter edition.
After exiting Brazil 2014, a period of upheaval ensued in the national team. Georgios Karagounis, the country’s most-capped player who shaped the midfield for years with his fighting spirit and creativity, retired from international duty, leaving a huge void to be filled. Greece’s main strength continues to be a solid defence and in Brazil Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Kostas Manolas formed a strong pairing at centre-back, supported by the robust qualities of Kyriakos Papadopoulos.
Fernando Santos stepped down following the Round of 16 defeat to Costa Rica at Brazil 2014. He was succeeded by Claudio Ranieri, who was charged with leading Greece to UEFA EURO 2016. However, a series of disappointing results during the qualifying campaign led to the Italian strategist being replaced by Sergio Markarian. The experienced Uruguayan, though, who was previously Peru's coach from 2010-2013 and Paraguay's helm on two different occasions (1992-1993 and 1999-2002), resigned in July after only five months in charge. Greece U-21 coach Kostas Tsanas has been named interim national team coach.
139 - Karagounis amassed a total of 139 international caps, putting him tenth in Europe’s all-time chart, and 33rd worldwide.
The former stars
Theodoros Zagorakis, Antonios Nikopolidis, Angelos Basinas, Nikolaos Anastopoulos, Nikolaos Machlas, Georgios Karagounis