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The 43-year-old expressed his gratitude towards the Seleccao's fans and refused to criticise his players following their Euro 2012 exit at the hands of Spain

Paulo Bento has hailed Portugal's fans for their backing during Euro 2012.

The Seleccao were knocked out of the tournament on penalties by Iberian rivals Spain in Wednesday’s semi-final in Donetsk following a 0-0 draw with the world champions.

Portugal had progressed from a tough group featuring the Netherlands and Germany before defeating the Czech Republic in the quarter-final.

And the 43-year-old coach believes that his side’s run to the semi-finals has restored the country's pride in the national team.

He told reporters: "I am proud to have made you [the Portuguese people] recover the trust in the team. I am very proud and satisfied with the support of the fans, who demonstrated they were supporting the team.

"We did not lack anything. Spain had merit in their win. I am proud.”

Manchester United winger Nani also expressed his gratitude to the team’s fans for their contribution to his side's efforts in this summer’s tournament.

He said: "I am very satisfied with this reception. I would like to thank you all for your support."

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