The national Under-20 soccer team bowed out of the FIFA U-20 World Cup on Tuesday as it lost 3-1 to Uzbekistan in a knock-out game for the round of 16 in Gaziantep, Turkey.
The Uzbeks were clearly stronger than the Greeks had expected them to be, and took the lead after a fearsome Abbosbek Makhstaliev shot in the 26th minute. Costas Stafylidis equalized for Greece seven minutes later from the penalty spot for a 1-1 half-time score.
However, two second-half penalties by Igor Sergeev in the 62nd and Sardor Rakhmanov in the 83rd sealed the fate of Greece, which also had Dimitris Kourbelis sent off on the hour mark for conceding the first Uzbek penalty.
This was Greece’s first ever participation in an Under-20 World Cup and despite the high expectations for the Euro U-19 finalist, the entry into the last 16 should be seen in positive light for coach Costas Tsanas and his players.