Santos blames exhaustion for Greece exit

The coach says fatigue was the main reason for his side’s second-round elimination from the World Cup at the hands of Costa Rica

Fernando Santos has accused Greece of lacking organisation as they failed to beat Costa Rica before succumbing in the penalty shoot-out in their second-round match in Recife.

Even though Costa Rica played the last 24 minutes of regular time and then extra time with only ten men following the dismissal of Oscar Duarte, Greece were unable to break them down and went on to lose 5-3 on penalties.

And Santos insists his players were completely drained by the time extra-time began.

"Of course in extra time we had no organisation and our minds were not sharp due to exhaustion," Santos said. "We tried to push every way we could to score another goal but in the end it went to a shoot-out."

The first seven penalty takers all put their spot-kicks away, before Keylor Navas capped off a valiant display by saving Theofanis Gekas’ effort and the Greece coach praised the goalkeeper.

"Navas was brilliant," he added. "Without him, the outcome would have been different."

The manager also discussed his sending off, which occurred just before the shoot-out, following an argument with referee Ben Williams.

"It was inexplicable. I can't figure out why. I said something very simple to the referee, that I had walked on to the pitch after the final whistle of extra time to support my players.

"I saw the Costa Ricans did the same but I was punished and sent to the stands."

The Ticos now advance to face Netherlands in the quarter-finals on Saturday July 5 at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. It is the first-ever time that Costa Rica have appeared in the last eight at the World Cup.