Greece’s inspirational captain Giorgos Karagounis has announced his retirement from international football, following his country’s round of 16 loss to Costa Rica at Brazil 2014, earlier in the week.

During a career that spanned 15 years, the midfielder experienced the highs of Euro 2004, arguably his country’s greatest sporting achievement, and the lows of missing World Cup qualification two years later.

The 37-year-old told reporters shortly after the Costa Rica loss that “this was my last game for Greece”, following 139 caps and 10 goals.

It is a move that he says would pave the way for younger players to grasp their opportunities with the national team.

“The national team has grown up, younger players have won invaluable experience. 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,” he said.

He also voiced his disappointment at not progressing further in Brazil.

“We wanted to stay on another week or even longer but you can’t change it now.”

Karagounis kick started his international career in 1999 against El Salvador and played in three European Championships and two World Cup tournaments.

He scored the opening goal for Greece in its successful 2004 European Championship, against Portugal in the group stages, but missed the final against the same team due to a yellow card he received in Greece’s semi-final victory over the Czech Republic.

His retirement means that Kostas Katsouranis remains the sole representative from that infamous triumph in Portugal 10 years ago.

Source: Reuters and Telegraph UK