Bento defiant in defeat

Portugal coach insists there's no disgrace in defeat

Paulo Bento: Portugal coach says side can be proud of themselves

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Paulo Bento refused to be downbeat after seeing his Portugal side knocked out of Euro 2012 on penalties by Spain.

His side failed to register a single shot on target during the two hours of their semi-final at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, in a game that saw the Iberian neighbours cancel each other out.

Portugal's game plan of pressing high up the pitch appeared to be paying off as Spain struggled to play the possession football that has served them so well so far in the tournament.

But Bento will be disappointed that his side couldn't produce an end product from several promising positions, meaning the game had to be decided on penalties.

He now has the unwanted record of being the first Portuguese coach to preside over a defeat in a shoot-out, and he admitted he'd rather have lost in regulation time.

Spain progressed 4-2 after the shoot-out, with Cesc Fabregas firing home the winning spot-kick following misses by Bruno Alves and Joao Moutinho for Portugal, while Xabi Alonso failed with Spain's first effort.

Heads high

"I think we were the better team but we couldn't take our chances," Bento said.

"Spain were stronger in extra time but we could have won it in the first 90 minutes because we were very good in the first half and at the end of the second half.

"If I had to choose a way of losing I wouldn't choose this one but you have to lose some way.

"We have in my opinion played a very good tournament. Spain is a great team and we can leave the pitch with our heads held high.

"We can be sure we can compete with any team in any tournament at any level. We know how to compete and that's what we've shown.

"Spain really deserve to be in the finals but, at the same time, I want to thank and praise my players for what they have shown in this tournament."