Karagounis bows out as Greece heads home

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 29, 2014 at 11:35 pm •  Published: June 29, 2014

RECIFE, Brazil (AP) — Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis retired from international football Sunday after his country's World Cup elimination in a penalty shootout 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' Greece fell in a shootout 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 for Costa Rica at Arena Pernambuco.

Down 1-0, Greece equalized in injury-time at the end of the 90 minutes 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.

"These are not the best occasions," he said soon after the shootout loss.