x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Euro 2012: Portugal go home with 'heads held high', insists defeated Nani

Frustrated Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo says his side 'didn't lack for conviction', but coach Paolo Bento is left to rue missed opportunity.

Joao Pereira, Fabio Coentrao, Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo react after losing against Spain at Euro 2012.
Joao Pereira, Fabio Coentrao, Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo react after losing against Spain at Euro 2012.

Portugal star Nani claimed luck had taken Spain through to the Euro 2012 final - but insisted his teammates could hold their heads high despite defeat.

The Manchester United midfielder scored from the penalty spot in the shoot-out, only to see Iker Casillas save the shot from Moutinho and Bruno Alves' attempt hit the crossbar.

And afterwards he said he believed Portugal should take pride in their run to the semi-finals.

"We really gave it all we had, and it's difficult to go out on penalties, he said.

"We showed a lot of quality. 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."

Portugal's tactic of keeping Cristiano Ronaldo back for the final penalty seemed to backfire as Spain went through 4-2.

"We didn't lack for conviction but we were unlucky," a frustrated Ronaldo said after the game. "That's penalties for you."

National team coach Paulo Bento rued his side's missed opportunities, and admitted his side's failure to find the net cost them a place in the finals.

"I think we were the better team but we couldn't take our chances," he said.

"Spain were stronger in extra time but we could have won it in the first 90 minutes because we were very good in the first half and at the end of the second half.

"If I had to choose a way of losing I wouldn't choose this one but you have to lose some way.

"We have in my opinion played a very good tournament. Spain is a great team and we can leave the pitch with our heads held high.

"We can be sure we can compete with any team in any tournament at any level. We know how to compete and that's what we've shown.

"Spain really deserve to be in the finals but, at the same time, I want to thank and praise my players for what they have shown in this tournament."