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Thursday, 28 June 2012 17:21

European press react to Portugal loss

Find out what the rest of Europe made of Portugal's narrow defeat

It may not have been a classic, but given the gripping intensity of the battle and heartbreaking way in which it was decided, it was certainly a game that will live long in the memory. Here's what some of the leading newspapers from around the continent had to say the morning after the night before.

El País, Spain

"Portugal were deployed with extraordinary intensity, burning all over the field. Their lines were tightly-packed without even the slightest of holes in between them. They are a vibrant team who close down all of the spaces around the pitch in packs, making passing difficult even for teams like Spain. With the Portuguese permanently in their faces, Del Bosque’s players found themselves in a maze with no room for manoeuvre, pressured to perfection in almost every attack. It is not normal for this team to fail with so many controls and passes. They will say that Spain were not at their precise and methodical best, that it was not a Spain in their top hat and tails, but it was still a high-ranking performance. They had to be, such were the demands placed upon them by Portugal, a great opponent who only feel at the death on penalties."

Corriere della Serra, Italy

"The Portuguese defence were constantly putting the Spanish under pressure, and as a result causing them plenty of problems. Portugal played well, limiting La Roja over ninety minutes but running out of steam in extra time, paying for the mistakes from the spot of Moutinho, who was the best player on the pitch, and Alves, who hit the crossbar."

L’Equipe, France

"So apparently it is possible to thwart Spain without sacrificing your own identity. Portugal demonstrated the worth of commitment and tactical discipline. According to Paulo Bento yesterday, his players were not content to simply sit and suffer. They harassed Piqué and Ramos from the first whistle, led by Moutinho.  An illustration of the difficulties encountered by Del Bosque’s team during this game was the fact that they only had 57% of the possession of the ball, when they have enjoyed an average of 69% since the start of the tournament. But in order to truly worry Spain, the Portuguese should have been more clinical in their finishing. Of their eleven attempts at goal, they did not get one on target.”

The Guardian, England

"This was indeed a game that offered little but tension until extra time when Spain finally created the chances that had evaded them before. Portugal broke from the normal mould employed by those that face the world champions, pressing where others sit, and for a time could feel entitled to the victory. What few opportunities they created, though, were wasted on a night when the ball seemed to be forever flying over the bar and into the stands."

Die Welt, Germany

"The Portuguese have to return empty-handed. As is their way, they put their hope in Ronaldo and fought with passion throughout the game. After a slow start, they got amongst the Spanish and impressed against the tournament favourites. But with the arrival of extra time the Portuguese eventually tired and could no longer keep their rivals at bay as effectively. They held on for penalties in a last act of desperation but were unsuccessful.”

Perhaps, though, we should save the last word for one of Portugal's most popular papers... 

A Bola, Portugal

"There are many moments when bad luck and misfortune are cited to explain away certain stupidities, failings, lack of quality, insufficient skill. But not this time. The truth is that Spain are in the final through good fortune and Portugal are not through nothing more than bad luck. Now that Portugal have been knocked out it is important to emphasise how proud they have made us, for their competitiveness, their character, their heart, their identity, their spirit of sacrifice, and above all, for the undeniable quality of the spectacles that they provided. Credit to the players, of course, but also, enormous praise must go to Paulo Bento who during this tournament has shown himself to be a coach in whom the country now realises that they can trust for the future."

by Tom Clee
Comments (24)
It should've been our cup
24 Tuesday, 03 July 2012 18:38
It was a great Euro ChampionShip. We were lacking that striker. Someone who could score from distance or even inside of the box. What I don't understand is why would Bento call up Hugo Almeida but not Liedson. It is obvious that Liedson is the better scorer then Hugo and that he is the better player as well. Other then that Bento did a fantastic job as the Portuguese coach. Portugal played better then every team at this years Euro ChampionShip. Viva la Portugal.
Bento vs Carvalho and Bosinga - How this team came together!
23 Monday, 02 July 2012 18:31
I blaimed Bento for a long time for Carvalho's absence, but lets face it - it was the best thing for the team. Unlike Holland and France, the Portuguese respected their coach and left everything on the field for him and country. If Carvalho and Bosinga had been allowed to get away with their antics, the team would have imploded. I think he knew we needed height in D and had no choice but to intruduce Alves and Pepe. If heathly, Carvalho would have been great off the bench. Carvalho wasn't fit enough anyways, but I think Bento's actions sent a clear message to rest of the players - tow the line or get out! You have to respect him for having the courage to take charge and get the job done.
Told You So
22 Monday, 02 July 2012 02:06
Yeah you said "Quaresma can never be the answer." Well we will never know because Bento never called him in. "He is too much like CR7" - too much like one of the three best players in the world? With RQ10 in for 90 instead of Almeida history is forever changed. RQ10 & CR7 on the pitch together for Brasil 2014...what might have been in Poland/Kiev.
Some lessons from Euro 2012
21 Sunday, 01 July 2012 12:20
All in all a superb tournament from us and what a great way to answer all the pessimism that many of our own fans showed in the build-up. I live in the UK, and pre-tournament I never once heard or read about Portugal being mentioned as one of the real contenders by the local press or public here. I remained quietly confident that we would do well and prove the doubters wrong since we always do best when we are not the favourites or are criticised (we are similar to the Italians in this way!)

I think Bento's handling of the team, tactics and his responce (or rather total lack of it) to the press criticism was spot-on. Remaining focused and motivated is the best way to get the best out of a quality group of players, and Bento proved he is the right coach to lead us for at least another 2 years. I'm still slightly gutted at how we went out to such a thin margin, as thin a margin as is possible to lose a football match...but more importantly I am proud of the great achievement by Bento and the whole team.

What were the things I learned from this tournament? On a positive note, we showed great togetherness and unity in the face of adversity and pre-tournament criticism. In all the matches, regardless of the different tactics, all the players fought tooth and nail for the good of the collective, and almost every player gave his maximum. This is a great sign for the future and again is down to Bento and his approach.
Secondly, I was pleasantly surprised at how well we defended in the tournament. Defence was my biggest concern before the tournament, and particularly Rui Patricio and Bruno Alves. Alves was outstanding throughout, while Patricio despite being shakey in the group phase, proved in the knock out rounds that he is potentially a very good and dependable keeper and was fantastic against the Spanish. Pepe was the best centre-back at the tournament without question and Coentrao and Pereira were among the best full-backs.
Thirdly I was glad to see a real balance in this team, capable of playing solid and defending well and being tactically sound...while also capable of playing our natural game: attacking with flair. This balance was missing from previous Seleccaos (i.e Scolari's teams were often too rigid and predictable tactically while Queiroz' team was way too defensive and contrary to our natural approach). Bento looks to be on the way to getting the balance just right and appears to have instilled a greater mental toughness onto the players.

On a negative note, two main points: firstly a lack of squad depth which was shown with Bento always going with the same starting line-up. Perhaps these fringe players have to be given more playing time in upcoming friendlies and in the easier WC qualifiers we have coming up. We also have a bunch of young upcoming talent which should be tried out and given experience, and this could ensure a greater squad depth for the WC in 2 years time. Secondly, and most important of all, we still have same age-old problem/flaw: no class centre-forwards! This problem just hasn't gone away, and was the big difference yet again, with a class striker we could've won these Euros. Postiga is not bad and Nelson Oliveira may well turn into a class striker in time...but I have to say Hugo Almeida just doesn't have the quality to be a starting striker for the Seleccao, this is obvious now really, he tries hard but just doesn't have the ability to lead our attack. I think this is Bento's big challenge from now, to sort out our attacking problem by WC 2014.

I have thought of three possibilities that could be tried out in regard our attack: (1.) Continuing with our normal 4-3-3 with either Postiga or Oliveira supported by the two wingers. Against weaker defenses this could still be effective for us. (2.) A three-prong fluid attack of Varela, CR7 and Nani, all 3 given the license to inter-change positions throughout the match. If this works it could be very good and would definitely have frightening pace to worry any defence, it could also bring the best out of Ronaldo who would basically be free to roam everywhere and get into the penalty area a lot, as he does for Real Madrid. (3.) To use Danny in the team, once he recovers from injury, in two possible ways. Firstly, as an offensive number 10 in something akin to 4-2-3-1, with Moutinho playing deeper in midfield and Danny pulling the attacking strings with 2 wingers behind a centre forward. We would lose some defensive strength with this formation by having one less defensive midfielder, but offensively it could really work well. Alternatively we could take a leaf out of Spain's Euro 2012 book...and play Danny as a "false" forward, with CR7 and Nani on the wings, and the same strong midfield trio in suppourt.

Either way if Bento can somehow get us to become more potent in attack, we could win the WC in Brasil, we really could! The vast majority of this Euro 2012 squad should still be intact, a large core of the squad (Moutinho, Nani, Veloso, Coentrao etc) will be reaching their peak, some of our younger players (Oliveira, Andre Santos, Andre Martins, Carrico etc) will have got more experienced, and CR7 will be 2 years more mature and perhaps by this time will be the true leader of the team. The future looks bright. FORCA SEMPRE!!!
Portugal FOR LIFE !!!
20 Sunday, 01 July 2012 00:21
God Bless US EVERYONE!!!!


The Quest continues. Maybe 2014 is our year in Brazil to take all!!!!

to be truthful l could not watch the game and Im going to watch it tonight. My wife new that it was a good night for me to go out and I did I spent the night at a meeting that had nothing to do with soccer and no Portuguese people.
I feel heart broken and evern cried. .....fucccccccccc me
I cant emagine how the players feel.
so let them feel the love of the nation and all of us around the world that live and celebrate our nation through our national pass time.
Thank you to all the players that gave 100% . it wasn a bad call, a penaly , a red card.
we lost fair and square............and we need to pick up the pieces and get ready for the world cup!!! FORCA PORTUGAL BRING IT HOME!!!!!!!!!!!
19 Saturday, 30 June 2012 17:52
I dont think it was ronaldo s Mistake..Bento had a plan of a 4-4 Till the 5th Penalty n Ronaldo Taking d Last...if Portugal would have Won there Would be nö criticism n Ronaldo World be Hero...he is the best..its just Dat. People change their opinions Too conveniently
A valuable experience
18 Saturday, 30 June 2012 03:57
The experience from the tournament is so valuable to the teams future, and all we ask is they keep growing from this.

I think we all agree that Bento was such a class act and has earned so much respect and accolades from the world, he really made our team look awesome.

We saw the teams defense come together and become one of the best even without Carvalho (this should come as a lesson to any player who disrespects the coach) we need team players not selfish wannabees.

I hope the young guns such as Varela and Oliveira continue to grow and become great leaders on the team.

I hope our stars learned something, especially Ronaldo, I hope he continues to mature as a player (cause he is not there yet mentally)

Get some rest and lick your wounds cause when September comes we will be ready to go again. Forca Portugal
Good luck collection
17 Friday, 29 June 2012 23:06
let's collect good luck for the world cup 2014 to be the year for PORTUGAL......viva and think positive
The support from the fans has been great
16 Friday, 29 June 2012 22:50
Just wanted to note that. ;)
15 Friday, 29 June 2012 22:02
No intentions to call you out but you are pointing out the refs mistakes just like the rest so don't talk about "being classy". We've been robbed of every tournament in the last decade so we certainly should have the right to speak up.

Those calls werent just very poor refereeing decisions it had all to do with the fact that this was set up. Take it like in 2010.. that offside goal was impossible to catch in real time so we'll let that pass but the red card for Ricardo Costa was too harsh to let it go. If the fans love Portugal they must stand for what is right. Don't accept what happened because it didnt seem too obvious or whatever. It was very clear to see what was going on.

One thing I saw yesterday that I'd like to mention: Spain vs. Ireland. The referee looks to have purposely bumped into the Irish player, knocking him down and giving Spain a great chance to score. Ref almost directly assisted a goal for Spain in the build up.
14 Friday, 29 June 2012 18:57
Before the tournament, I did not think Portugal was going to get out of the group with the way they played before the Euro. But they proved me very wrong! What a TEAM this is! I can't wait for the world cup!

Forca Portugal!!!
13 Friday, 29 June 2012 16:01
I am so proud of the team - they gave an absolutely EPIC performance and effort against a brilliant Spain team. Portugal took the game to them, amazing and very inspiring... You never want to blame the officiating, that just smells of "unclassy"... and the Seleccao were certainly gracious in defeat, saying all the right things. But for goodness' sake, when 2 great teams are playing against each other, it's the slimmest of margins that can separate them - and when the referee makes some of the calls that he did, that really didn't help our cause! Particularly the missed call of the handball in the box!!! On the other, I'm still not sure why the Turkish ref blew the whistle after Nani kept the advantage and made an amazing play breaking away from 2 Spaniards creating a fast break with tonnes of speed through the midfield - absolutely brutal call! And how about the 2 vicious, careless tackles on Ronaldo, where they didn't get near the ball at all, weren't even cautioned!!! Terrible... I'm so proud of the team, great effort guys!
Thank you Seleccao & Paulo Bento
12 Friday, 29 June 2012 13:25
I flew my Portuguese Flag proudly in the USA in a town where I am the only Portuguese citizen, I am so proud of my heritage and the team. Many of my firends have said the best team will not be in the finals and I replied lets hope 2014 will finally be our time, I believe Spain has awoken the sleeping Lion from the grass. The Seleccao made a profound statement to the world in Euro 2012 and I can only hope we continue the run in qualifying for 2014. As for Ronaldo, thank you for such a memorable tournament, you are the best player in Europe, and with the presence of our very talented team the world needs to notice because we will be ready for 2014.

Seleccao & Paulo Bento
My only criticism
11 Friday, 29 June 2012 12:59
I agree with the vast majority of praise for the team. What still leaves a bad taste in my mouth is the way we were outplayed in the extra time. With everything on the line, in extra time Spain were by far the more agressive side with more energy, more runs, more sense of urgency. I didnt see the same thing from our side. I still can't shake that feeling of disappointment.

And we had 2 days more of rest, and we have never won a major championship. The way the extra time played out, one would think Spain were the better rested team who were more hungry to win their first major trophy.
10 Friday, 29 June 2012 12:18
We lost but we should be damn proud of ourselves... I said before the tournament even began that we will crash out at the semis and that was what happened and I was close to be proven wrong. Fatigue killed us, playing the same players for 5 consecutive matches is not a healthy investment.
To win a tournament we need the quality striker, not world class, but someone who knows how make a good decision or two. Unfortunately, the ones we have now are nothing close to that. If in the next year or two, a good striker emerges on the Portuguese scene, then I assure you we'll have a very good World cup 2014 tournament (not saying we'll win it).
A good striker ensures we score goals in a match we dominate like what should have been the case against Czech Republic and Holland and even Germany!! But to win a tournament we need another thing that Portugal lacks and that is depth. I'm not too worried about that since Portugal is in a transition phase from a generation to another and with time depth will occur.
Bento should stay and if he does, then the work must start from today. Find that striker, and please Bento no more has beens in the squad. Players past their prime should not play in a team that wants to win.
Finally, again i re-estate my faith in the team and players and I am proud to support the team that no one else in my country does. 9 years and counting, Forca Portugal.
Still so proud
9 Friday, 29 June 2012 10:23
It is still very hard to comment! donno y everytime I come here and comment i feel so sad and with some tears in my eyes....but proud of such a seleccao!

cant wait to see our world cup qualifications starting to forget that glorious tournament who left tears in our eyes!!

Forca Portugal!the best is yet to come!
Devastated, but very proud
8 Friday, 29 June 2012 02:20
I've been too distraught to post on the site about the game until now... I think you all understand.

Regardless, I am VERY proud of the squad for what they have accomplished.

Advancing past the Group of Death, through the quarter-finals, and losing to world & European champions on penalities is nothing to be ashamed of!

For a country of it's size and resources, Portugal CONSISTENTLY performs very well at National & club levels.

For all the criticism that the national squad gets, they always get past the group stages and compete against top teams.

I couldn't be prouder!

Ronaldo's order n the PK lineup
7 Friday, 29 June 2012 00:23
I can't believe the fuss over Ronaldo being placed 5th in the PK lineup. I've read so much garbage about it over the last day it's infuriating.

To set the record straight here the Penalty Shootouts that Ronaldo has been involved in (at least that i remember):

2004 Euro - went 3rd - scored - won
2005 FA Cup final - went 3rd - scored - lost
2006 World Cup - went 5th - scored - won
2008 Champions League Final - went 1st - missed - won
2012 Champions League Semi-Final - went 1st - missed - lost

so just by the statistics he had a 100% score & win record when going 5th.

It's a risk you take, but on the other hand if you want someone to take that winning penalty it's great to have your best player do it.
I think this sums it up quite well
6 Thursday, 28 June 2012 21:33
Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out.
I'm crushed and RE USA
5 Thursday, 28 June 2012 21:29
Ronaldo was picked to take the last kick. Most coaches select their best players to kick first or last. It may have backfired for Bento but he had an outstanding tactical game plan.

I think the game may have decreased my life span by five years. I didn't expect them to make it this far but I thought it may have been their destiny to win it all. Its time to regroup and prepare for the WC Quals. Forca Portugal Sempre!
We can be proud of this team
4 Thursday, 28 June 2012 21:09
The defeat was glorious... our team deployed brave tactics and took the game to Spain. They are to be commended. It is painful to lose in PKs but more painful to be bumped in the group stages or miss the tournament alltogether... remember this 2 year journey did not start that well. The silver lining is that the core of this group will be around for WC2012 and will be more experienced and ready to capitalize on thier chances.
Tom Kundert - Prophet?
3 Thursday, 28 June 2012 19:39
Wow, I hate to say it.

Tom K nailed it...the glorious defeat, the glorious failure (though it doesn't feel like it).

To the gents on Portugoal - thank you for top notch tournament coverage.

Portugoal is absoutely my go to site every morning. Today it hurts a bit...but September is around the corner.

We'll be back
Portugal's Penalty Kicks
2 Thursday, 28 June 2012 19:08
Why didn't Ronaldo kick first instead of being at the end and not even getting to kick?
Forca Portugal
1 Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:37
Well said Europe! Portugal's best is yet to come! We have the talent, the coaching, and the heart to compete with any team in Europe and the World. Every team needs a little luck, and may luck be on our side come 2014.

Forca Portugal!!!!

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