thumbnail Hello,

Nani hails fantastic Portugal performance

The Manchester United winger was delighted with the display of his team-mates after Cristiano Ronaldo's diving header secured Paulo Bento's men a spot in the semi-finals

Portugal winger Nani was delighted with his team's performance after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Czech Republic in their Euro 2012 quarter-final clash in Warsaw on Thursday.

Paulo Bento's side set up a last-four showdown with either reigning world and European champions Spain or Laurent Blanc's France courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo's sublime diving header just 11 minutes from time, after the Real Madrid star had twice thumped the post.

Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech was also in inspired form to keep the Seleccao at bay, but Ronaldo, who was outstanding all evening, deservedly broke the Czech resistance late on to seal their passage to the last four.

"It was a very difficult game but we did very well," Nani told the BBC immediately after the full-time whistle.

"I think everyone was fantastic on the pitch. It's a great performance by all the players and I'm satisfied with the result.

"Now it's going to be more difficult every game but the whole team is confident, I'm very confident for the next game. Now we have to rest and prepare for the big match.

"I had a couple of chances, Almeida had a couple of chances but finally Ronaldo scored a goal and we won the game and that's the most important thing.

"Everyone is happy."

Midfielder Joao Moutinho, who provided the cross for Ronaldo's winner, admitted that the Seleccao now have their sights set on the European Championship trophy.

"The ambition now, having gone through to the semi-finals, is to win [the tournament]," he declared. "Portugal go into every match with the will to win; that's all we think about.

"Now we're going to rest, we've got several days to restore our strength. We'll have all our energy for the semi-finals so that we can reach another final, which would be very important both for Portugal and for us personally."

Moutinho admitted his satisfaction with the way in which Portugal had got the better of a Czech side they have the utmost respect for.

"We knew it was going to be a very difficult match," the Sporting Lisbon ace revealed. "We said it before kick-off, that this was a game against an excellent team, a team which knew Portugal's strengths.

"They tried to play on the counterattack, on our errors, but we managed to control the match in our own way in order to create opportunities. We managed to score a goal, which was enough to secure passage to the semi-finals."

Meanwhile, Portugal boss Paulo Bento felt his troops were full value for their win, as after a slow start they went on to take complete control of the quarter-final contest.

"In the first 25 minutes of the first half it was hard for us to get into the game," he mused. "We did well at a defensive level, but then we rushed things in attack. Then we got more comfortable and we had the best chance in the first half.

"After the break, we had an extraordinary display, creating enough chances to secure a victory without having to suffer that much; I do not remember Czech Republic having any chance to score.

"The way we dominated our opponent, the pace at which we played, the way we reacted every time we lost the ball, I think this is a fair victory and a fair prize for the players, who have been working hard and trying to honour Portugal's shirt as well as possible."

Portugal must now await the outcome of the game between La Roja and Les Bleus in Donetsk on Saturday to discover their semi-final opponents on Wednesday.

Related

From the web