Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Coach Paulo Bento consoles his Portuguese players.
Coach Paulo Bento consoles his Portuguese players.

Portugal depart with confidence and pride for Brazil World Cup

Coach Paulo Bento says, 'we will start thinking about the World Cup in Brazil and I am sure we can compete there with any team.'

DONETSK, UKRAINE // Portugal left Euro 2012 after having created a new appreciation for their abilities. A side that drew with Cyprus and lost to Norway in their opening qualifying matches came within touching distance of a place in the final before losing 4-2 to Spain on penalties.

Paulo Bento, the coach who rejuvenated and reinvigorated Portugal after Carlos Queiroz's departure in September 2010, saw his side recover from an opening Group B loss to Germany to score wins over Denmark and Holland, and then the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals.

"We played fantastically through the qualifiers and we had a very good tournament here," he said.

"I wouldn't choose this way to go out, but if you have to lose, you can lose to a great team like Spain and walk away with your head held high.

"The players can now go on their well-deserved holidays and from September onwards we will start thinking about the World Cup in Brazil and I am sure we can compete there with any team. We have shown here we are capable of that. We have lost but we really showed we could play in this Euro."

Bento's praise could not fully dull the pain of a third Euro semi-final defeat, following last-four losses to France in 1984 and 2000.

After neither side scored in 120 minutes, the pivotal penalty was Bruno Alves's shot that hit the crossbar and rebounded away with Spain leading the shoot-out 3-2.

Cesc Fabregas clinched victory for Spain by making it 4-2. His spot kick also hit the woodwork but ricocheted into the goal instead of away from it.

Discussion afterwards focused on why Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal's captain and joint top-scorer in the finals with three goals, did not take a penalty. Bento said he was going to take the fifth penalty.

Ronaldo left with his reputation further enhanced after some fine displays. He was relatively subdued against Spain, but he still went close with two free kicks and had a chance of sealing the match near the end but shot wide. His two-goal performance in the 2-1 win over the Dutch in Portugal's final group match in Kharkiv on June 17 was arguably the best by any individual in the tournament. He also had the misfortune of hitting the woodwork four times in his five games.

With Nani on the other flank, Portugal produced some of the competition's most exciting football, with the duo always looking to go forward in search of a goal.

Bento said his team's performance "is one our country can look back on with confidence and pride".

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Players such as George Springer are a sign that things are starting to swing in the Houston Astros' favour. But more help is needed. Scott Halleran / AFP

Houston Astros are still earth-bound but help is on the way

As harbingers of a new era go, the Houston Astros could have done worse than misspelling their new phenom’s name on his major-league debut.

 Luis Suarez became the first Liverpool player to score 30 Premier League goals in a season since Ian Rush in 1987. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

Sterling and Suarez inpire Liverpool to win over Norwich City

The win takes the Premier League table-toppers to 80 points from 35 games.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Stanislas Wawrinka turned away fellow Swiss Roger Federer with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 20, 2014. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Wawrinka backhands Federer aside at Monte Carlo Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National