Kostas Katsouranis made world wide news when he signed to play for Heidelberg United to assist them in the FFA Cup Quater Finals in 2015 making him the prized signing the club has ever made and possibility the biggest profile signing in Australian football history.
Kostas played for notable clubs Benfica, AEK Athens, Panathankios… with a career spanning more than a decade and over 450 professional games.
Katsouranis made his international debut for Greece on 20 August 2003 against Sweden and scored his first goal against Kazakhstan in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier. Katsouranis was one of the key factors in Greece‘s triumph at UEFA Euro 2004, beating Portugal in his own “home” (Benfica’s Estádio da Luz) and, following Greece’s success at the tournament. Forced his way into the starting XI after coming off the bench for the opening game of the tournament, he was an extremely important part of a three-man midfield that also included Theodoros Zagorakis and Angelos Basinas. It was in Portugal that Katsouranis really made a name for himself, delivering a string of consistent performances culminating with that famous final in Lisbon. Lifting the Henri Delaunay trophy represents the pinnacle of a national-team career that so far has never again reached the same heights.
Katsouranis was a regular for Greece in their unsuccessful 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign. He believes that the worst moment in the Greek national team was the elimination from the 2006 World Cup, realizing his own percentage in this unsuccessful tournament in a game against Albania national football team.
Katsouranis became one of Greece’s impact players in their UEFA Euro 2008 qualifiers in which he helped Greece qualify for the finals and have a chance to retain their crown. Their UEFA Euro 2008 campaign resulted in poor fashion as Greece failed to pick up a point. Katsouranis has captained Greece on several occasions and was selected for his country in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification. Together with Angelos Charisteas, Giourkas Seitaridis, Georgios Karagounis, Kostas Chalkias who all participated in Greece’s UEFA Euro 2004 triumph, he led Greece to a 2–1 win against Nigeria, its first win in a World Cup tournament.
On 17 October 2012, Katsouranis reached a milestone on the international level as he made his 100th appearance in a Greece shirt. A 1–0 win over Slovakia in Bratislava certainly stole the headlines, but Katsouranis became just the fourth Greece player to make a century of appearances for Greece just days after teammate Giorgos Karagounis set the all-time Greece record for appearances.
Katsouranis’s exceptional leader characteristics along with experience and the huge influence on the pitch saw him stand-in as captain for Greece at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with the team’s regular captain, the veteran Karagounis, restricted to substitute appearances at the age of 37. On 19 June 2014, Katsouranis became the first Greek player in World Cup history to be shown a red card. He was dismissed in the 38th minute of the group match against Japan for committing two bookable offences.
After the draw for UEFA Euro 2016, Katsouranis stated that he was confident of reaching the finals due to a lack of “powerhouses” in their qualifying group. Katsouranis believes Greece face a tricky task to reach the tournament, which will be held in France, but believes the side are well prepared for the challenge. “It’s a good draw for us but we have to prove that on the pitch as well,” he said. “I believe we have what it takes to be among the final 24 teams. There are no powerhouses in our group, but there are dangerous rivals.” However, Greece would finish bottom of their qualifying group, winning just once, on the final matchday.
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