Greece manager Fernando Santos rued “a day of sadness” with their penalty shoot-out defeat to Costa Rica.
“I remember everything from the past four years. The many important things we achieved, the many successes and I am proud to have represented this national team,” said Santos, whose contract expires tomorrow.
“I don’t want to talk about the future right now, though. This is a day of sadness for all of us. I believed we could qualify and the players put in so much effort.”
Costa Rica went down to 10 men on 66 minutes and Sokratis Papastathopoulos snatched an equaliser in stoppages, but Greece couldn’t net again even in extra time.
“Of course in extra time we had no organisation and our minds were not sharp due to exhaustion. We tried to push every way we could to score another goal, but in the end it went to a shoot-out.”
Bizarrely, Santos was sent to the stands by the referee just before the penalties, but it’s not clear why.
“It was inexplicable,” argued the Coach. “I can’t figure out why. I said something very simple to the referee, that I had walked on to the pitch after the final whistle of extra time to support my players.
“I saw the Costa Ricans did the same, but I was punished and sent to the stands.”
Greece still made history, as they had never previously reached the World Cup Round of 16.