Chalkias and Liberopoulos retire from international duty

The two Greek players have announced the end of their Ethniki careers, after their team's quarter-final exit in a heroic display against die Mannschaft
After Friday evening's spirited defeat to Germany knocked their team out of the competition, Greece's Nikos Liberopoulos and Kostas Chalkias have both announced their international retirement.

The striker Liberopoulos, aged 36, came on as a second-half substitute in the 4-2 quarter-final loss to die Mannschaft in what was to be his 76th and final cap.

 Michael Paterakis
 Greece Expert
Kostas Chalkias and Nikos Liberopoulos say goodbye to the Greek national team with mixed feelings. Although their dedication to the Ethniki cannot be doubted, it should be noted that both weren't major parts of the squad during its biggest triumph, the victory in Euro 2004.

Actually, Liberopoulos wasn't even a member of Otto Rehhagel's final selection, even though the German manager included him in his plans in the finals at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. As for Chalkias, during Euro 2004 he was the second-choice goalkeeper behind Antonis Nikopolidis.
"I feel blessed that I get to close this chapter among a team that are like family to me," he said.

"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."

Liberopoulos made his international debut in 1996 and was called up regularly, but was left out of the squad for the Greek triumph at Euro 2004 in Portugal.

Goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias did not feature as often for the Greek squad, picking up just 32 caps in over a decade. At 38, he was the oldest player at Euro 2012, where he made two appearances before being substituted because of injury.

Despite the circumstances of his exit, Chalkias was thrilled to be a part of the current Greek side.

"I am proud and happy to have participated in Greece's effort to reach the quarter-finals," he said. "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."