Greece 2 Ivory Coast 1: Samaras proud to put Greece through

Greece's Giorgos Samaras (front) celebrates scoring from the penalty spot.
Greece's Giorgos Samaras (front) celebrates scoring from the penalty spot.
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Georgios Samaras spoke of his pride after scoring the dramatic late penalty that sent Greece into the last 16 of the World Cup in Brazil.

The former Celtic striker coolly converted from the spot in injury time in Fortaleza to hand his side a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast and second place in Group C.

The Africans had looked like going through to the knockout stage after Swansea’s Wilfried Bony cancelled out an Andreas Samaris strike, but Greece - who hit the woodwork three times - earned late reward for a positive display.

Samaras, released by Celtic at the end of last season, was tripped by Giovanni Sio in the area in the closing moments and got up to apply the finishing touch.

Samaras, whose goal was his first at international level for two years, told BBC Sport: “I think we controlled the game most of the time.

“I don’t think Ivory Coast created a lot of chances. From our side I think we scored a goal, hit the post three times and at the end we scored a goal.

“We tried the last 15-20 minutes to win because we knew if we won we would be in the next round.

“We gave everything we had and in the end the gods and the luck were on our side.

“We are really proud of our achievement. I am really proud of the result and our team.

“I hope we gave a smile back to the people in our country.” After the match, Sabri Lamouchi resigned as Ivory Coast coach.

The 42-year-old Frenchman told FIFA.com: “My contract comes to an end at this World Cup and there will be no epilogue and you can understand well as to why.

“It is logical as we did not do well at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations or at the World Cup finals.”

Lamouchi, a former France international, revealed his disappointment at the loss against Greece but did not criticise the way they won the game.

“I have put a lot of time and effort into the past two years, but unfortunately my story with Cote d’Ivoire ends this evening,” he said.

“The outcome is a cruel one but the Greeks did not steal this victory.

“I am very disappointed and sad, and also for the players and the Ivorian people. However, my career carries on and there will be other defeats, though I would have liked this adventure to finish in a different fashion.”

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