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Pride and pain for Greece captain Koulouris

Despite the heavy margin of defeat, Greece captain Efthymis Koulouris said the semi-final against Russia was "decided on details" as he looked back on an "amazing month".

Greece's Efthymis Koulouris after missing a chance against Russia
Greece's Efthymis Koulouris after missing a chance against Russia ©Sportsfile

For 45 minutes, Greece matched Russia in a sweltering Larissa in the first UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-final – indeed, Giannis Goumas' side had the two best chances of the first 45 minutes, Nikolas Vergos prodding just wide and Efthymis Koulouris striking the top of the crossbar. The hosts wilted after the interval, however, as Russia went through the gears, but Greece captain Koulouris looked back with pride on "an amazing month" as he reflected on his finals experience.

Koulouris on... the semi-final defeat
There is a rather bittersweet feeling. We believed in ourselves and thought we could have reached the final and, that what would have been celebrated in our country. But that's football. We'll get over this defeat and look ahead.

Koulouris on... a game of two halves
We were unlucky in the first half. We could have taken the lead and the whole match would have been different. In the second half, we didn't start as we should have done and paid dearly for it. A defensive mistake from a set piece and then another error, two minutes later, and suddenly we were two goals down. After we went down to ten players [following Timos Tselepidis' 68th-minute red card] we collapsed psychologically – it was only natural.

Koulouris on... the element of luck
The 4-0 score may seem like a thrashing, but the match was decided by details. In some matches in the group stage, we had our share of luck. Against Russia we were unlucky. It could have been us in the final, had we been more confident in front of goal. We don't have much to be envious about when we look at the football powerhouses of Europe.

Koulouris on... the tournament
It was a great experience – one we will never forget. We spent an amazing month together working towards a common goal and we are very proud of what we accomplished.

Koulouris on... the final
Russia are capable of lifting the trophy, but so were all four teams that got to the semi-finals. Such matches need non-stop focus and attention.