Portugal vs Ghana: Paulo Bento laments Germany drubbing as Portuguese eliminated from World Cup on goal difference
Portuguese manager left disappointed with World Cup campaign after one-goal victory over Ghana sees United States progress
Friday 27 June 2014
Portugal coach Paulo Bento remains frustrated by his team's opening game implosion against Germany that ultimately cost his side a place in the round of 16 of the World Cup.
The Portuguese suffered a 5-1 defeat to Germany and despite a 2-2 draw against the United States and a 2-1 win over Ghana on Thursday, Bento's team crashed out of the tournament.
Portugal finished third, level on four points with second-place USA but with an inferior goal difference.
"Our opening game punished us a lot," Bento said to Portuguese newspaper Ojogo. "That left us a little dented but that also had some positives.
"The reaction that we had from then on, against the United States and Ghana."
Portugal needed to win a play-off tie against Sweden to reach the tournament in Brazil.
Yet expectations were high with Cristiano Ronaldo, the World Player of the Year, as their team's captain.
It was Ronaldo's Real Madrid team-mate Pepe, however, who cost his team dearly with a moment of madness against Germany.
The central defender head-butted Thomas Muller and was sent off to set a negative tone against the Germans and leave Portugal with just 10 men before half-time.
Portugal then lost another Real Madrid player, Fabio Coentrao, for the rest of the World Cup when he had to leave the pitch in the second half with a muscle injury.
"Of course the balance of our World Cup is negative," Bento said. "We didn't achieve our first aim which was to progress to the second round of the competition.
"We have what we deserve.
"The two teams that have gone through have done so on merit."
Ghana coach James Kwesi Appiah was disappointed not to advance but believes his national team has a good future.
"I am sure the people back home are disappointed but I don't think we had a disappointing tournament," Kwesi Appiah said to French newspaper L'Equipe. "Compared with 2006 and 2010, this team is very young with players who have only played for two years or even less in the national team.
"I believe in them, I have confidence in the future.
"I will continue."
Ghana's World Cup will nevertheless be tarnished by the sending home of Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng before the vital game against Portugal.
The two Ghana stars were expelled from the side for indiscipline.
"The decision to send home the two players (Boateng and Muntari) was taken for disciplinary reasons," Kwesi Appiah said. "You cannot think about one player, you have to think about the good of the team.
"The decision was not taken this morning prior to the game but a day ago.
"The players were aware of it.
"If you want to build a team you have to do things right.
"I don't think this had an effect on the game."
Even so, the coach felt his side could have beaten the Portuguese.
When Asamoah Gyan scored an equaliser against Portugal, the Africans only needed one more goal to qualify as second in the group but Portugal's Ronaldo scored next.
"We had our chances but we weren't able to transform them," Kwesi Appiah said. "Our idea heading into this game was to win regardless of what the United States and Germany did in the other game."
Ghana finished bottom of the group, four years after reaching the quarter-finals of the competition.
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