Portugal departs Euros with heads held high, players say
DONETSK - Agence France-Presse
Portuguese (R) Paulo Bento consoles defender Fabio Coentrao after losing the penalty shoot-out against Spain. AFP photoPortugal should be proud of its performance at Euro 2012, even if its campaign ended in a crushing defeat against Spain in the semifinal on June 28, forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani have insisted.
“We didn’t lack for conviction but we were unlucky. That’s penalties for you,” said Ronaldo, whose frustration was apparent after he did not even get to take his kick as Portugal’s final penalty-taker.
“We really gave it all we had, and it’s difficult to go out on penalties. We showed a lot of quality,” said Manchester United star Nani.
“In the end Spain simply had more luck than we did. But people in Portugal can be proud of their team. We are sad as we deserved to be in the final - but we can go home with our heads held high,” Nani insisted in an echo of England coach Roy Hodgson, whose own side tasted defeat in a penalty shootout against Italy in the quarterfinals.
Ronaldo’s Real Madrid club mate Pepe, one of Portugal’s best performers in the tournament, insisted penalties could have no bearing on who was the better team.
“Spotkicks are always a lottery. During the game we were organized and they hardly had a shot on goal - it’s so sad we lost the shootout,” said the central defender.
“I think people will be proud of us for what we achieved here. We are a young group and we will have other opportunities in future.”