Ronaldo's men the pride of Portugal after 'unlucky' exit
Pride was the main feeling in Portugal yesterday following their team's semi-final defeat to Spain on penalties.
After holding the world and European champions to a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes, before losing 4-2 in the shoot-out, Portugal were hailed in their national press.
'Pride of Portugal' was the front-page headline on 'A Bola', while 'Record' wrote that "Portugal's game was touching perfection," and that "Glory was so close, we lacked Lady Luck".
'Jornal de Noticias' put Portugal's defeat on penalties down to bad luck. "Spain won the lottery," they wrote. "The Portuguese team fought to the end. Portugal can pride itself on having a world-class side. The country is proud of them."
Captain Cristiano Ronaldo echoed those sentiments, saying: "To lose a semi-final on penalties is always hurtful, but penalties are a lottery and the one with most luck is the one who wins," he said.
"I think it was a very successful championship. We did well, we were among the best four teams at the tournament and we didn't win because we didn't have luck -- penalties are like that.
"We have to be proud, but we are a bit frustrated because we knew we could reach the final. We played well and we deserved to be in the final."
Nelson Oliveira agreed that Portugal could "hold their heads high" after their defeat.
"We obviously feel a great sadness," said the 20-year-old Benfica striker. "But at the same time we can hold our heads high because we are dignified in our defeat.
"We did everything we could to win and unfortunately we were unable to do so, but we come away proud. We played well and we were equal to Spain."
Striker Helder Postiga looked positively towards the 2014 World Cup following one of Portugal's best performances in years.
"Portugal demonstrated a great desire to win, but unfortunately the match was decided on penalties," he said. "We didn't have the luck of previous competitions, but we have to keep our heads held high because the players gave their all on the field and brought honour to Portugal.
"This result and the campaign should make the Portuguese proud. Now it is time to carry on working and start thinking about the next challenge." (© Indep-endent News Service)