Karagounis bows out as Greece heads home

Jun 30, 2014 - 4:48 AM Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis has retired from international football after his country's World Cup elimination in a penalty shoot-out loss to Costa Rica.

Karagounis leaves as Greece's most capped player with 139 appearances over 15 years since making his debut in 1999.

He also won the European Championship with Greece in 2004.

Karagounis's Greece fell in a shoot-out in the round of 16 at the World Cup in Brazil despite having a man advantage for nearly an hour following Oscar Duarte's 66th-minute red card at Arena Pernambuco.

Down 1-0, Greece equalised in injury time but couldn't force a winner in extra time despite launching attack after attack.

"You don't always get such breaks in life," the 37-year-old Karagounis said.

The midfielder said his team would still exit the World Cup with "our heads high".

Karagounis said Greece was on the right path after making the second round of the World Cup for the first time, and the "younger guys" would now take it forward.

"These games and experiences are a great launching pad for the future," he said.

"They will help keep the team on this level, something not always easy. We are Greece after all, we don't have many means."

Karagounis will wait until Monday to say farewell to his teammates, he said, as the Greeks first digest their elimination.

Greece's goal-scorer on Sunday, defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, paid tribute to his departing leader.

"He's written his own story ... he's the record holder (of caps), he's given everything for the team and had to make concessions for it," Papastathopoulos said.

"He's left us a legacy for the future. He shouldn't worry."

Although Karagounis' international career ended with the bitter disappointment of defeat in a penalty shoot-out at the World Cup, he can reflect on being part of the team that won the European title a decade ago against all expectations.

In Brazil, he also led Greece to the second round of the World Cup for the first time.

Greece coach Fernando Santos will also leave after his contract expires on Monday.

Source: AAP

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