WARSAW: Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis believes his team’s progress to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 has given his fellow-countrymen a reason for brief cheer in a difficult week climaxed by the latest general election.

Greece surprised everyone else at the finals, if not themselves, by defeating Russia 1-0 on a Karagounis goal to accompany Czech Republic into the last eight from Group A.

He said “Especially now when our compatriots do not have the best of times, I believe this will put a smile on their faces. This I believe gives an additional value to qualifying for the next round.”

Karagounis also felt that it would have been less difficult for Greece if they had received proper consideration from the referees. The Greeks felt they had been denied a clear penalty in the Russia game when Karagounis was tripped by Sergei Ignashevich. Instead of being awarded a spot kick he was shown a yellow card for diving.

Karagounis said: “All refereeing calls in the group were against our team. So for us, just to reach the quarter-finals is the equal of winning the tournament in 2004. Our team could have had, let’s say, seven points. We have had two proper goals that were not accepted.”

Karagounis’ booking means that he cannot play in the quarterfinal. He said: “This is not fair, both for me because I will not be able to participate in the next match, and in general.”

= = = =