Greece vs Côte d'Ivoire World Cup 2014: 'We never stopped fighting,' says match-winner Georgios Samaras

Greece 2 Ivory Coast 1

They were famously champions of Europe ten years ago but until yesterday the World Cup had never been kind to Greece. That all changed with their last-gasp victory over Group C rivals Ivory Coast in Fortaleza yesterday when, according to match-winner Georgios Samaras, their fighting spirit saw them through. “We never stop believing and we fight till the very last second,” said the Celtic striker.

Greece need a victory against the African side to jump from fourth place to second in the group and they got it through Samaras’s injury-time penalty kick which restored their lead after Wilfried Bony had cancelled out Andreas Samaris’s first-half goal. It seemed a questionable penalty – Samaras appeared to kick Giovanni Sio rather than the other way round before going to ground – but it was struck with impressive cool given that he had not actually scored an international goal for two years and two days.

And the striker believed Greece deserved their luck as, with Japan losing to Colombia in the group’s other game, they progressed to the round of 16 for the first time. “I felt that we pretty much controlled the game today,” he said. “Our defence did a great job and we scored at the right times. To be honest we should have killed the game off when it was 1-0, but we hit the woodwork three times.”

 

Greece had only ever found the net in one World Cup match prior to yesterday but they certainly created the better chances and coach Fernando Santos hailed his side’s recovery after an opening 3-0 defeat by Colombia and subsequent goalless draw with Japan. “In the first two matches we weren't focused, which is usually our great strength. We showed we know how to attack too. I told the players this morning this would not be our last match.”

While Santos can now start planning for Sunday’s round of 16 meeting with Costa Rica in Recife, his Ivory Coast counterpart Sabri Lamouchi announced his departure from his role after the defeat. “My contract ended at this World Cup,” he said. “It won't be renewed and you can understand why. It makes sense given we came up short at the Africa Cup of Nations and at the World Cup. I gave it my all for two years but my time with Côte d'Ivoire comes to an end tonight unfortunately.”

The Elephants were just seconds from advancing to the knockout stage for the first time themselves, and Lamouchi – who gave Didier Drogba his first start of Brazil 2014 – admitted it was a bitter defeat. “It was a cruel way to lose, but the Greeks did enough to win. We were one minute away from a famous result but the small details are what decide games at this level. I'm very disappointed and frustrated.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there