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Greece international Sokratis Papastathopoulos has said that Laurent Koscielny remains an influential player for the club and he is hopeful that the Frenchman stays for many more years to come. The former France international has been speculated to be heading through the exit door this summer with reports emerging that the club are keen pursuing a younger replacement.

Speaking to reporters, Papastathopoulos was asked about the ongoing speculation involving Koscielny’s future where he appeared to dismiss any doubts by saying: “I think Lolo (Koscielny) will stay a lot of years and I’m very happy I played with him, and I’ll be very happy if I continue to play with him.”

As the Euros are usually held about the same time every year, it is easy to reminisce the kind of games that were witnessed years back among the participating countries.

For instance, on June 12th in 2004 Portugal had been a host to an opening match and their opponent team was in Greece. The latter had qualified for World Cup and Euros only once every time and after that they had been unable to win a game. As a result the hosts were confident about the game.

Former Fulham midfielder Giorgos Karagounis has announced his retirement from the game in order to focus on his role as the football director with the Greece national team. The Europeans recently appointed former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri as their new manager. This was after Fernando Santos stepped down from his role after the World Cup 2014. Karagounis is widely regarded as one of best players of his generation from Greece. Ranieri wasted no time in having him on board to help him with the national team. One of the immediate tasks for Ranieri will be to get the team into Euro 2016 finals.

The national team definitely has made a disastrous start to life in the Ranieri after losing two out of the opening three matches. They have taken only one point from these three matches and already faced the prospect of missing out on an automatic qualification spot. This is after the fantastic start made by the likes of Northern Ireland, who have a 100% record. Karagounis goes out from the game after having achieved a lot including winning the Euro 2004. Not many expected Greece to win this competition, but it was made possible with the quality from players like Karagounis.

Karagounis says that it is a delight to have enjoyed such an illustrious playing career. Now he is focusing on his role with the national team. “I am officially retiring from football. I wasn’t planning on retiring – I was training on my own and considering my last move. However, after talking with the FA president and meeting [coach] Claudio Ranieri – as well as receiving calls from my former team-mates who wanted me to return – I made up my mind. For now, I will mainly be with the seniors in the role of liaison between players and coach,” said the former Fulham man.

Fernando Santos guided the Greek national football team to the Round of 16 which was the furthest that the squad had reached in their history. Greece faced off with Costa Rica and ultimately lost on a penalty shoot-out.

Despite having made it so far, the contract of Santos expired the next day of his team’s elimination and no contract extension was made as he was released from his position in the team.

Greek star Giorgos Karagounis has announced his retirement from international football after Greece were knocked out of the World Cup 2014 at the last 16 stage. Greece came into the match against Costa Rica looking to reach the quarter-finals. After getting a late equaliser to keep their hopes alive and take the match into extra time, Giorgos Karagounis was unable to prevent Greece from being knocked out after a penalty shootout defeat against the 10 men Costa Rica. The 37-year-old midfielder has been one of the important players for the Greek national team over the last decade.

He was part of the team that won the Euro 2004 in the most stunning fashion and it will probably remain as the best moment of his career. Greece were never mentioned as a potential winner prior to the start of the tournament, but despite playing a defensive of brand of football, they won the hearts of many by securing the title. Karagounis has been playing for the likes of Fulham in the last few years. In order to concentrate on his club career, which looks like only has a few years left, he has announced his retirement. The end of the tournament also sees Fernando Santos depart as the national team coach.

“This was my last game for Greece. We wanted to stay in Brazil another week or even longer but you can’t change it now. 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,” said the midfielder. The Greek FA not only has a major task in trying to rebuild the team after the departure of Karagounis, but also in finding a new manager.

Former Fulham midfielder Giorgios Karagounis has claimed that people will be proved extremely wrong if they write of Greece even before the start of the World Cup 2014. Greece go into the competition as one of the least favourites to reach the knockout stages. They were faced with a similar expectation when they took part in the Euro 2004. Karagounis was part of the team that won this competition against all the odds. He says that Greece have a fighting spirit that cannot be written off.

Compared with the other groups in the tournament, Grace have been given a relatively easy drop since they will be facing the likes of Ivory Coast, Columbia, and Japan in the group stages. This is seen as a winnable group by all the teams. The major problem for Greece will be scoring goals. Celtic striker Giorgios Samaras will be at the top of the attack. He will be expected to score the goals, but it is now difficult to see Greece scoring more than one goal per game. Despite this, Karagounis says that the Greece team has the experience to win matches.

This will be the farewell tournament for coach Fernando Santos, who will be stepping down after the tournament. “Sometimes it’s good because whether or not they praise or respect you, the truth is on the pitch. For the last 10 years, this is where we have answered our critics. I think whoever doesn’t respect us will pay for it. It’s best not to cross us. We know who we are and what we can do. If we stay together as a team, we can achieve big things,” said the former Fulham midfielder.

Karagounis has been one of the players who have left Fulham after their relegation from the Premier league into the Championship.