Greece captain Giorgios Karagounis and coach Fernando Santos were two people bidding the 2004 European champions farewells on Sunday, following the side’s elimination from the Fifa World Cup.
“This was my last game for Greece,” said Karagounis after Greece lost on penalties to Costa Rica.
“We wanted to stay in Brazil another week or even longer but you can’t change it now.”
Sokratis Papastathopoulos’s injury-time equaliser for Greece forced the last-16 tie into extra-time after leveling Costa Rica Bryan Ruiz’s opener at 1-1.
But goalkeeper Keylor Navas emerged the hero of the shootout, saving Theofanis Gekas’ penalty before Michael Umana slotted home from 12 yards to help ‘Los Ticos’ triumph 5-3 on spot-kicks.
The 37-year-old midfielder and Kostas Katsouranis were the only two survivors from the triumphant squad of 2004 to take part in Brazil.
Karagounis ends his international career with 139 caps and ten goals to his name. He says he is calling time on his journey with Greece’s national team to allow the younger generation grow.
“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.
“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.”
Coach Santos’ contract expired on Monday, after guiding them to their first knockout stage appearance at the World Cup.
Santos watched the shootout on television, having being sent to the stands.