Greece are finally out of the World Cup, writes John Foster, leading millions of football fans to wonder if there might be some way of making sure they never play at a World Cup again...
After stifling the first half against Costa Rica, Greece were forced to chase the game after Bryan Ruiz’s goal, something they did with the assurance and swagger of a fat man trying to catch a disobedient terrier.
A last-minute equaliser gave them the opportunity to win the game in extra-time, but despite having eight strikers on the pitch they proved incapable of putting together a single convincing attack and lost on penalties, to widespread relief.
Reaction among fans worldwide was mixed, with some wondering whether Greece might be expelled from FIFA for some reason, while others argued for further economic sanctions against the country. All were in agreement, however, that the prospect of Greece at Euro 2016, let alone World Cup 2018, was not something they were prepared to tolerate.
“Is there some way that Greece might cease to exist as a country by, say, dissolving its central government and giving rise to a number of successor states?” said Recife resident Estela Santos.
“It’s not impossible that Thessaly or Crete will end up playing rather attractive football. Better than Vasileios Torosidis hoofing the ball in the vague direction of Georgios Samaras for two bloody hours, anyway.”
However, others warned that attempts to break up Greece may be counterproductive. The decision by the international community to dismember Yugoslavia after a drab 2-0 loss to the Netherlands in 1991 is now widely regarded as rash.