Nikos Liberopoulos admitted he did not want to leave the Arena Gdansk on Friday as he and goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias called time on their international careers.
Liberopoulos was a second-half substitute in the 4-2 defeat by Germany that ended Greece's UEFA EURO 2012 ambitions at the quarter-final stage – his 76th and final cap. "I feel blessed that I get to close this chapter among a team that are like family to me," he told Greek television. "It's a big honour for me. At the end of the match, I felt that I didn't want to leave the pitch. Now I will continue supporting this team as a fan."
Striker Liberopoulos, 36, made his international debut in 1996 and has been a regular in and around the squad ever since, scoring 13 goals, although he was overlooked for UEFA EURO 2004. Chalkias was never able to command a regular place in the squad, picking up 32 caps in over a decade in the side. At 38, he was the oldest player at UEFA EURO 2012, making two appearances before being forced out by injury.
Nevertheless, he says he bows out on a high. "I am proud and happy to have participated in Greece's effort to reach the quarter-finals. This has been one of the best months of my career. Right now I am very emotional and proud – it was a dream finish for my international career."
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