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Arnaldo's 'special' goal for Portugal

Published: Sunday 5 February 2012, 17.15CET
Arnaldo Pereira spoke of his emotion after recovering from injury to score on his 150th cap as Portugal clinched Group D with a 2-1 win against a not-downhearted Serbia team.
by Paul Saffer, Nuno Tavares & Elvir Islamović
from Arena Zagreb

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Published: Sunday 5 February 2012, 17.15CET

Arnaldo's 'special' goal for Portugal

Arnaldo Pereira spoke of his emotion after recovering from injury to score on his 150th cap as Portugal clinched Group D with a 2-1 win against a not-downhearted Serbia team.

Jorge Braz, Portugal coach
We knew we had to be, as we said before the game, extremely organised at every moment. We had good possession of the ball, when we didn't we knew we had to be extremely organised. We made some mistakes when we had the ball in our possession, it can happen, but there were only two or three and I think we will keep on improving as the tournament goes on. I think it was an extremely rational performance and that is very important in a competition like this.

We like difficult opponents, and we have played both Russia and Italy in our preparations at the start of this season. We know them well, it's going to be very difficult, but that's what we like, we like those kind of matches. We're here to win.

Arnaldo Pereira, Portugal defender
It was a very special and emotional match for me as it was my 150th game with Portugal and I managed to score a beautiful and important goal. What else can you ask for? The most important thing was to top the group and we did that so now we can relax a bit before starting to focus on our next opponents.

It's always a great privilege and pleasure for me to play for Portugal and as long as I feel fit I will always do my best to help my country. I had to endure a serious injury and a long recovery process but my team-mates have been amazing and they helped me to get back in shape.

Pedro Cary, Portugal defender
To tell you the truth we expected a bit more from Serbia. Their first five minutes were very promising but in the second half we completely dominated the match. The players on the bench even commented that their players were apathetic and didn't have the will to win the game. As for our team we always play to win even when we only need a draw to achieve our objective, which was the case today.

We played well and we fully deserved to win our group and to remain here in Zagreb. Now I will rest in my bed and watch the match between Russia and Italy as we will face one of them in the quarter-finals.

João Benedito, Portugal goalkeeper
We didn't deserve to concede that goal [Ricardinho heading into his own net to equalise], especially taking in account how it happened, but that's futsal and the most important thing is that we managed to react and go in search of a win. Thank God we did just that. It was very important for us to remain here in Zagreb, mainly as at this stage of the competition you have to recover very quickly from your previous match.

Arnaldo is one of the most charismatic Portuguese players and he fully deserves to have scored that amazing goal on his 150th cap for Portugal.

Aca Kovačević, Serbia coach
Today it was a totally different game compared with the one against Azerbaijan. Today we played very well, I am satisfied with the players' performance. Today we played at the standard of a European Championship, Portugal were a little better than us and deserved to win, but we now have a very good motivation for the quarter-final, we are ready and we know we can play.

Today was a different game, against Azerbaijan we were under pressure because we knew we had to win to get to the quarter-finals. Today we played without pressure and defended to the standards we set. That's how we usually defend.

Marko Pršić, Serbia forward
It was a good match, we had an excellent second half. We came back after their first goal, but we conceded a late goal, although we had our chances in that period. We had a few good counterattacks, we were dangerous but we missed our chances. But, after all we are not dissatisfied, they were runner-ups at the last EURO. Yes, it wasn't extraordinary today like in our first match, but mostly that's because we had secured a spot in the quarter-finals, and it didn't matter too much who we would play there.

Miodrag Aksentijević, Serbia goalkeeper
This match was supposed to show us where we are and how much we can do against the strongest teams. I am not disappointed, although a draw would have meant much more for us and would give us a psychological boost. But, our loss doesn't affect us too much, as the game was mostly for pride, because we achieved our goal by winning in the first match."

Last updated: 29/10/12 14.43CET

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