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Giorgos Karagounis

Giorgos Karagounis
Personal information
Full name Giorgos Karagounis
Date of birth March 6, 1977 (1977-03-06) (age 33)
Place of birth Pyrgos, Greece
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 12 in)
Playing position Attacking Midfielder
Club information
Current club Panathinaikos
Number 26
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993–1996 Panathinaikos 0 (0)
1996–1998 Apollon Smyrni 55 (9)
1998–2003 Panathinaikos 118 (25)
2003–2005 Internazionale 32 (2)
2005–2007 Benfica 45 (3)
2007– Panathinaikos 85 (11)
National team
1999– Greece 102 (7)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the
domestic league only and correct as of 12 December 2010.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 4 December 2010

Giorgos Karagounis (Greek: Γιώργος Καραγκουνης; born 6 March 1977 in Pyrgos, Greece) is a Greek footballer who currently plays for Panathinaikos FC. He is best remembered for scoring the first goal of UEFA Euro 2004, a very long range effort that helped his team to win the opening game of the tournament, in which the Greeks surprisingly emerged as champions.[1]

His style of play combined with his rather small stature have earned him comparisons with the former Greek midfield star Mimis Domazos.

Giorgos Karagounis is also the cousin of professional football player Thanasis Karagounis who currently plays for Atromitos.


Clubs

Panathinaikos

In the summer of 1995, Karagounis joined Panathinaikos FC at the age of 18 but was allowed to leave for Apollon Smyrnis, where he was a regular scorer over two seasons. He then returned to Panathinaikos where he was a fixture in the senior team for the next five years. Although Panathinaikos did not win an Alpha Ethniki title during these years, the team was always a contender, and it had good runs in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup, with Karagounis scoring crucial goals for the team. He scored six times in 24 league games in his first season back with the Greens and in 2000–01, he appeared in all 12 of Panathanaikos' UEFA Champions League games, scoring a memorable goal from a direct free-kick against Manchester United at Old Trafford.[2]

Inter

Karagounis opted for a move to F.C. Internazionale Milano (Inter) in summer 2003. Karagounis played a pivotal part for Inter during his first season at the club, where he played in all European fixtures and his performance at UEFA Euro 2004 had improved his standing in the team for the next year. He scored the first goal of this tournament against Portugal, helping Greece win 2–1, but was suspended as the hosts were shockingly beaten in the final. After becoming a Champion of UEFA Euro 2004, he won the Coppa Italia in the season 2004/2005 against Roma who contained Greek National Team mate Traianos Dellas.

Benfica

In 2005, he moved to Portugal to play for SL Benfica[3] based at the Estádio da Luz, precisely the same stadium where he won the Euro 2004 final for Greece. Karagounis stated, "I like Benfica. It's such a big club and I am honoured that they have great faith in me. I'm sure that my fellow Greeks are happy about my move here at Benfica." In July 2006, Karagounis scored a magnificent chip shot right out of the 18 yard line[4] against Shakhtar Donetsk which gave Benfica a 2–0 win. Karagounis' first season at Benfica was rough, as the Greek had trouble establishing as a key player. However, he achieved such a status on his second season at the club, throwing excellent performances, this time managed by Fernando Santos, who already knew Karagounis from Panathinaikos. Now, after a good two-year stay with Benfica, Karagounis seemed ready to return to play in Greece, again for Panathinaikos.

Panathinaikos

Allegedly, the player's family was not able to adapt to life in Lisbon and wished to move away from Portugal. Karagounis' contract with the Portuguese outfit was due to expire in July 2008, but the player and his manager negotiated his immediate departure. Greek article on Karagounis Sport.gr article, July 2007</ref> as he was known, was rumored to have several invitations from his home country Greece and from Italy, where he had played for two seasons. However, after his release from Benfica in the summer of 2007, Karagounis immediately signed a contract with Panathinaikos for the next three years.[5] He quickly re-established himself with the team again scoring key goals in crucial games especially in Europe, in particular a wonderful volley against Werder Bremen.

On 3 September 2009, Karagounis signed a new contract with Panathinaikos until 2012 and stated that he wants to end his career at the club.[6] As capitan of the team of Athens, He impressed and drived Panathinaikos by winning his second Super League (Greek league) and the Greek Cup.

National team

Karagounis captained Greece's entry to the 1998 UEFA Under-21 Championship, and the team came very close to winning, losing 1–0 to Spain in the final. After that, he soon became a regular on the national team. He made his first full international appearance against El Salvador in 1999 and went on to appear in qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The highlight of his international career was undoubtedly winning the European championship for Greece in Euro 2004. He was a key player for Greece and famously scored the first goal of the tournament against Portugal, a stunning long range shot that shocked the hosts and gave Greece the confidence they needed to win the game and progress in the tournament.[1] After winning Euro 2004, Karagounis continued to play on a regular basis for Greece in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, and the Euro 2008 finals. On 26 March 2008, Karagounis participated in a Greece-Portugal friendly match in Düsseldorf, Germany. This proved to be somewhat of a highlight of his international career as he scored two almost identical well-placed free-kicks to give Greece a 2–1 victory.[7] Giorgios Karagounis as a captain of Greece contributed to the qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. As captain, he led the Greek National team to its first win in a World Cup match with a 2–1 win against Nigeria. On October 8, 2010, against Latvia, Karagounis reached 100 appearances for the Greek national team equaling the record of his Euro 2004 winning ex-teammate Angelos Basinas. On 12 October 2010 Karagounis made his 101'st appearance, becoming the second most capped player in Greek footballing history behind Theodoros Zagorakis and scoring his seventh goal in the victory against the Israel national team.

International goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 5 September 2001 Helsinki, Finland  Finland 5–1 Loss 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier
2. 13 February 2002 Thessaloniki, Greece  Sweden 2–2 Draw Friendly Match
3. 12 June 2004 Porto, Portugal  Portugal 1–2 Win UEFA Euro 2004
4. 30 March 2005 Athens, Greece  Albania 2–0 Win 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier
5. 26 March 2008 Düsseldorf, Germany  Portugal 1–2 Win Friendly Match
6. 26 March 2008 Düsseldorf, Germany  Portugal 1–2 Win Friendly Match
7. 12 October 2010 Athens, Greece  Israel 2–1 Win UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier

Honours

* GreecePanathinaikos
o Greek Championship: 1995–96, 2009–10
o Greek Cup: 2009–10

* Italy Internazionale
o Coppa Italia: 2004/2005

* Greece Greece
o European Championship: 2004


References

1. ^ a b Player review Uefa.com article, July 2004
2. ^ Manchester United – Panathinaikos Independent article, November 2000
3. ^ Benfica sign Karagounis CNN article, August 2005
4. ^ Match report a-bole-e-redonda article, July 06
5. ^ Greek article on Karagounis Sport.gr article, July 2007
6. ^ Karagounis signs new contract with Panlagotaikos
7. ^ Greece – Portugal Fifa.com article, March 2008

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