Ronaldo: We were just unlucky – but can be proud in defeat


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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 national paper A Bola while Record wrote that "Portugal's game was touching perfection", and that "Glory was so close, we lacked Lady Luck and she stayed on the side of the champions".

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."

Cristiano Ronaldo, who nearly put Portugal into the final but shot over the bar in the 89th minute, echoed those sentiments afterwards. "Clearly 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 European 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 but penalties are like that.

"We have to be proud, but the truth is that we are a bit frustrated because we knew we could reach the final.

"We did what we had to do. 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. "We wanted to go through to the final and we didn't make it. We're sad 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."