The protagonists of Greece’s national soccer team could not hide their disappointment from the way the Blue-and-whites bowed out of the World Cup, losing to Costa Rica in the penalty shootout, but stressed the success this team has achieved by reaching the knock-out stages of the competition for the first time.
Captain Giorgos Karagounis bid farewell to the national team after completing 139 caps on Sunday, saying: “It just did not work out well for us in the end, but this is a team that we should all be proud of. Everyone wanted to make Greek people happy again, but we cannot change the result now.
“I have said this was my last game with the national team and so be it. We can only wish we get to see Greece have similar runs in the future, too.”
Greece manager Fernando Santos, who is also leaving the national team, was visibly upset with the referee who sent him off after the end of the extra time, and said: “We have achieved so many things in thoser four years, but this is a sad day for us and I would not talk about them now. I believed very much in qualifying. We did not have any clear thinking in extra time and often attacked in an unorthodox way,” the Portuguese stated, thanking Greece’s fans in Greek.
Midfielder Yiannis Maniatis said: “We made a great effort up to the end we were the better team, but the opponent’s keeper was the hero of the night. In the penalties you need luck, and we were unlucky missing one shot.
“The most positive thing was that we managed to make the Greek people get out on the streets and celebrate. We tried to achieve the same thing tonight, too, but we just did not make it.”
Striker Giorgos Samaras also put it all down to bad luck: “We did our best but when you lose in the Russian roulette of the shootout, it just is a matter of fortune. We did not win the game in the 120 minutes when we could. We were unlucky in the goal we conceded, we equalized in the last few minutes, we fought as a team, we gave it all and lost as a team.”