Karagounis with Greece in 2008
|Date of birth||6 March 1977|
|Place of birth||Pyrgos, Greece|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19 May 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Georgios "Giorgos" Karagounis (Greek: Γιώργος Καραγκούνης) (born 6 March 1977 in Pyrgos, Greece) is a Greek footballer who last played for Fulham in the English Premier League. Karagounis scored the first goal of UEFA Euro 2004, a long range effort that helped his team to win the opening game of the tournament, in which the Greeks emerged as champions.
His style of play combined with his comparatively small stature have earned him comparisons with former Greek midfield star Mimis Domazos. He is known as "a dogged worker in midfield and a deliverer of fine set plays."
Apollon Smyrni and Panathinaikos
Giorgos Karagounis officially began his Professional Footballing Career in 1996 when he signed for Apollon Smyrnis. In his first couple of years with the Athens based club, he already showed signs of supreme talent as he was a very energetic player in the centre of midfield and was a very regular Goalscorer with the club. After his first two seasons of his professional career with Apollon he then signed for Greek giants Panathinaikos in 1998. At Panathinaikos he was a fixture in the senior team for the next five years. Although Panathinaikos did not win an Alpha Ethniki title during these years, due to several contreversial reasons, the team was always a contender, and it had good runs in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup, with Karagounis scoring crucial goals for the team. He scored six times in 24 league games in his first ever season with the Greens and in 2000–01, he appeared in all 12 of Panathanaikos' UEFA Champions League games, scoring a memorable goal from a direct free-kick against Manchester United at Old Trafford. The following season, at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium, he scored a wonderful goal against Arsenal, beating David Seaman by head and bringing his team to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.
After his first seven years of his Professional Footballing Career, Giorgos moved overseas for the first ever time when he left Panathinaikos and Greece to move next door to Italy to sign for Italian Serie A club Inter Milan in the summer of 2003. During his first ever season with Inter, he unreguarly appeared for the club during the 2003–04 Top Division League season, mainly appearing in European (UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup) and Domestic Cup Matches. At the end of his first ever season in Italy and overseas, he wasn't a prominent figure for Inter in the league. Despite not being a prominent figure with Inter in the league who finished in a disappointing 4th place and city Rivals Milan winning the title, he still did enough to be called up to represent Greece at the 2004 UEFA European Championship in Portugal where he made his mark. After becoming a Greek Champion of UEFA Euro 2004 he returned to Italy for the 2004–05 season under a lot of expectations from himself and Inter supporters to be playing regurly for Inter in the league. Unfortunately for Giorgos, it was the same old story from the previous season, he again played unregularly in the Serie A under Roberto Mancini, again just mainly playing in European and the Domestic Cup. He won the Coppa Italia in the 2005 Final against AS Roma who contained fellow Greek International Team mate Traianos Dellas. At the end of the 2004–05 season Inter finished in a disappointing 3rd in the league with Juventus winning the title and finished Quarter Finalists in the UEFA Champions League, getting knocked out by Italian and City rivals AC Milan.
In 2005, he moved to Portugal to play for Benfica based at the Estádio da Luz, precisely the same stadium where he won the Euro 2004 final for Greece. Karagounis stated, "I like Benfica. It's such a big club and I am honoured that they have great faith in me. I'm sure that my fellow Greeks are happy about my move here at Benfica." In July 2006, Karagounis scored a magnificent chip shot right out of the 18-yard line against Shakhtar Donetsk which gave Benfica a 2–0 win. Karagounis' first season at Benfica was rough, as the Greek had trouble establishing as a key player. However, he achieved such a status on his second season at the club, throwing excellent performances, this time managed by Fernando Santos, who already knew Karagounis from Panathinaikos. Now, after a good two-year stay with Benfica, Karagounis seemed ready to return to play in Greece, again for Panathinaikos.
Allegedly, the player's family was not able to adapt to life in Lisbon and wished to move away from Portugal. Karagounis' contract with the Portuguese outfit was due to expire in July 2008, but the player and his manager negotiated his immediate departure. After his release from Benfica in the summer of 2007, Karagounis immediately returned to Greece and returned to Panathinaikos, signing for the club for the next three years. He quickly re-established himself with the team again scoring key goals in crucial games especially in Europe, in particular a wonderful volley against Werder Bremen.
On 3 September 2009, Karagounis extended his stay until 2012 and stated that he wants to end his career at the club. As captain of the team of Athens he has won his second Super League (Greek league) and the Greek Cup.
On 11 September 2012, Karagounis again left Panathinaikos to move overseas again, this time to the UK, where he joined English club Fulham on a free transfer until the end of the season after being released by Panathinaikos. Giorgios Karagounis became the eighth Greek player that won Euro 2004 to play in the Premier League, after Nikos Dabizas, Stylianos Giannakopoulos, Vassilios Lakis, Theodoros Zagorakis, Angelos Basinas and Kostas Chalkias. He officially made his debut for the club in the Premier League on 29 September 2012, against Manchester City at Craven Cottage, coming on in the 81st minute to replace Chris Baird.
On 17 November 2012 he started in the home game against Sunderland and on 24 November away against Stoke City. Karagounis then went on to start in the next game, away against Chelsea, where he offered a good performance, serving a perfect cross for the Irishman Damien Duff, but the goalkeeper saved the shot. He then attempted a shot from outside the box, but it was saved by Petr Čech. Karagounis was replaced by Kerim Frei at 74 minutes, after he procured a kick from the edge of the area. Giorgos played the full 90 minutes for the first ever time for Fulham in the Premier League in their 4–0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield. Giorgos Karagounis played also from the beginning in the away win against West Bromwich Albion in a 1–2 win. Karagounis scored his first ever goal for Fulham on 5 January 2013 in the FA Cup against Blackpool in the 80th minute, with a 'stunning 25-yard half-volley' which went in off the underside of the crossbar, equalising the goal of Ludovic Sylvestre and ending the game 1–1. This meant the two teams will face again and Battle again in a replay at Bloomfield Road. On 12 January 2013 one week after his goal in the FA Cup, he scored his first goal in the Premier League against Wigan Athletic in the 22nd minute of the first half.
On 19 May 2013 it was confirmed that Fulham would not be offering a new contract to Karagounis, leaving him free to find a new club. A-League team Melbourne Victory is one of a number of teams reported as looking to sign Karagounis.
Karagounis captained Greece's entry to the 1998 UEFA Under-21 Championship, and the team came very close to winning, losing 1–0 to Spain in the final. After that, he soon became a regular on the national team. He made his first full international appearance against El Salvador in 1999 and went on to appear in qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
UEFA Euro 2004 & beyond
The highlight of his international career was undoubtedly winning the European championship for Greece in Euro 2004. He was a key player for Greece and famously scored the first goal of the tournament against Portugal, a stunning long range shot that shocked the hosts and gave Greece the confidence they needed to win the game and progress in the tournament. After winning Euro 2004, Karagounis continued to play on a regular basis for Greece in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, and the Euro 2008 finals. On 26 March 2008, Karagounis participated in a Greece-Portugal friendly match in Düsseldorf, Germany. This proved to be somewhat of a highlight of his international career as he scored two almost identical well-placed free-kicks to give Greece a 2–1 victory.
Giorgios Karagounis as a captain of Greece contributed to the qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. As captain, he led the Greek National team to its first win in a World Cup match with a 2–1 win against Nigeria. On 8 October 2010, against Latvia, Karagounis reached 100 appearances for the Greek national team equaling the record of his Euro 2004 winning ex-teammate Angelos Basinas. On 12 October 2010 Karagounis made his 101'st appearance, becoming the second most capped player in Greek footballing history behind Theodoros Zagorakis and scoring his seventh goal in the victory against the Israel national team. On 7 October 2011 Karagounis was awarded by Theodoros Zagorakis and Angelos Basinas for reaching 111 appearances with the Greek National Team. The awarding ceremony took place at Karaiskakis stadium before the kickoff of a football match against Croatia.
UEFA Euro 2012
On 8 June 2012, Poland played with Greece on the opening day of Euro 2012. Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny fouled Greek international Dimitris Salpingidis, resulting in a red card for Szczęsny. Karagounis took the penalty against substitute goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń who saved his penalty.
On 16 June 2012, Karagounis started the final game of Group A against Russia, making him their joint most capped player with 120 caps, together with Theodoros Zagorakis who held the record of national team appearances at the time. He scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half time. This meant Greece qualified for the next stage of the competition. In that same match, Karagounis received his second yellow card of the tournament causing him to miss the quarterfinals.
Qualifying for World Cup 2014 and record
On 12 October 2012, he played in the second half in the match against Bosnia and Herzegovina in the qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, making the 121st appearance for his country. With this game, he set a new record of most caps for the Greece national football team
|1.||5 September 2001||Helsinki, Finland||Finland||5–1||Loss||2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier|
|2.||13 February 2002||Thessaloniki, Greece||Sweden||2–2||Draw||Friendly Match|
|3.||12 June 2004||Porto, Portugal||Portugal||1–2||Win||UEFA Euro 2004|
|4.||30 March 2005||Athens, Greece||Albania||2–0||Win||2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier|
|5.||26 March 2008||Düsseldorf, Germany||Portugal||1–2||Win||Friendly Match|
|6.||26 March 2008||Düsseldorf, Germany||Portugal||1–2||Win||Friendly Match|
|7.||12 October 2010||Athens, Greece||Israel||2–1||Win||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier|
|8.||15 November 2011||Altach, Austria||Romania||1–3||Loss||Friendly Match|
|9.||16 June 2012||Warsaw, Poland||Russia||1–0||Win||UEFA Euro 2012|
|1996–97||Apollon Smyrni||Alpha Ethniki||31||2||2||0||–||33||2|
|2003–04||Inter Milan||Serie A||9||0||3||0||4||0||16||0|
- Player review Uefa.com article, July 2004
- Wilson, Jonathan. "Euro 2012 Preview: Greece". Sports IIlustrated. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
- Manchester United – Panathinaikos Independent article, November 2000
- "Arsenal wilt in Athens heat". BBC. 26 September 2001. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- Benfica sign Karagounis CNN article, August 2005
- Match report a-bole-e-redonda article, 6 July
- Greek article on Karagounis Sport.gr article, July 2007
- Karagounis signs new contract with Panathinaikos
- "Karagounis Signs". Fulham FC. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Fulham 1–2 Manchester City". Fulham FC. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- "Fulham 1–1 Blackpool". BBC. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
- "Fulham 1 Wigan 1: Serious knee injury to Ramis takes gloss off Latics fighback". Daily Mail. 12 January 2013.
- "Giorgos-Karagounis-and-Simon-Davies-to-leave-Fulham-this-summer". Football365. 19 May 2013.
- Gatt, Ray. "Victory lures Greek champion Giorgos Karagounis". The Australian (News Limited). Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Greece – Portugal Fifa.com article, March 2008
- "Poland 1 Greece 1". BBC Sport. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- Wilson, Paul (16 June 2012). "Euro 2012: Giorgos Karagounis avoids Greece exit and makes Russia pay". The Guardian. Warsaw.
- "Sweet result, personal bitterness for Karagounis". The Times of Malta. 18 June 2012.
- "Giorgos Karagounis profile". Soccerway. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- "Giorgos Karagounis profile". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- Georgios Karagounis at transfermarkt.de
- "Greek torments keeping Giorgos Karagounis outside cosy football bubble". Guardian. 6 April 2013.
- Official Website
- Elitefootball profile
- Transfermarkt Profile
- Giorgos Karagounis career stats at Soccerbase