Karagounis and Santos end Greece careers
GREECE captain Giorgos Karagounis has retired from international football following their World Cup elimination to Costa Rica on Sunday. The 37-year-old won 143 caps and was part of the team that were crowned shock European champions in 2004. Karagounis confirmed: “This was my last game for Greece. We wanted to stay in Brazil another week or even longer, but you cannot change it now. Manager Fernando Santos has also left his post after his contract expired.
Defour escapes with one-match ban
WORLD governing body Fifa have confirmed Belgium midfielder Steven Defour’s one-match suspension will not be extended. Defour will miss tonight’s last-16 clash with USA having been shown a straight red card for a strong challenge on South Korea’s Kim Shin-Wook last week. Defour has also been fined £5,000, but can return for a potential quarter-final.
Swiss non-plussed by hype surrounding Messi
SWITZERLAND forward Admir Mehmedi insists he is far from overcome by playing against Lionel Messi and Argentina today. Messi goes into the last-16 fixture with four goals already to his name but Mehmedi said: “Swap jerseys with Messi? I’m not here as a tourist. Switzerland are in the second round of a World Cup. With all due respect for his qualities and his class, I think too much is talked about just Messi.” Argentina won all three of their Group F matches to reach the last 16 and are among the tournament favourites. But manager Alejandro Sabella knows nothing can be taken for granted. He said: “We have to be very focused. Errors become more and more expensive.”
GAMES ON TV
ARGENTINA v SWITZERLAND Today 5pm, BBC ONE
BELGIUM V USA Today 9pm, BBC ONE