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Italy's joy matched by Portugal's despair

Published: Wednesday 8 February 2012, 0.54CET
Roberto Menichelli was thrilled his Italy side laid the ghost of a 2010 quarter final loss with a 3-1 win over Portugal, which represented losing coach Jorge Braz's "biggest disappointment".
by Francesco Corda, Paul Saffer & Nuno Tavares
from Arena Zagreb

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Published: Wednesday 8 February 2012, 0.54CET

Italy's joy matched by Portugal's despair

Roberto Menichelli was thrilled his Italy side laid the ghost of a 2010 quarter final loss with a 3-1 win over Portugal, which represented losing coach Jorge Braz's "biggest disappointment".

Roberto Menichelli, Italy coach
First of all I want to congratulate Portugal – they are a great team and our victory is worth more given the strength of the opposition. I'm very happy for my players – I think they deserve to play in a Futsal EURO semi-final for what they have done, especially in the last year.

I'm very happy for my players – I think they deserve to play in a Futsal EURO semi-final
Roberto Menichelli
I am very, very, very disappointed, the biggest disappointment of my life
Jorge Braz

Maybe there was no particular reason for this victory. Maybe the fact we continued to push even after they equalised. The players had the strength to believe they could win this game. They kept their concentration and determination – the basis for any success in sport. I think the motivational aspect carries a weight that you must pair with technical ability.

Two years ago there was sadness when we didn't get past the quarter-finals. This makes up for the last European Championship but I didn't think about that a lot. What counts in sport is what comes next. Tonight we will think of this beautiful day we have experienced, then tomorrow morning we will start work again for another contest. Fortunately, we will play five matches here – that is what we wanted.

Alessandro Patias, Italy goalscorer
This is a massive victory. We knew that our path would get even harder after being beaten by Russia to first place in Group C. We knew we had a very difficult game. We have faced Portugal many times and they are a great team. At the end, with pain, anger and will, we managed to get a positive result and reach the semi-finals.

We all had a lot of chances, not only me, but unfortunately we could not convert them earlier. In the end, after we had been through so much, I scored the third goal, and that was very important. I scored, but the most important thing is Italy won.

Stefano Mammarella, Italy goalkeeper
This is a great moment, achieving this result at the European Championship. This squad really deserves it. We were united and we had the power to beat Portugal. We played a great match even if we wasted too many chances. We really wanted this result. What happened on the pitch showed we were better than them – we won 3-1 and everyone's performance was exceptional. We were completely determined to reach the semis.

On Thursday we have Spain. This is a tournament played over ten days and we don't have time to rest, but beating Portugal in the quarter-finals will give us the confidence to face Spain and deliver another great performance. We have a chance to win, because we are together and we want to do well. It is a do or die game, 50-50, even if Spain have incredible talent.

Jorge Braz, Portugal coach
There were some mistakes at important moments in the game, that's the reason for this result. We could have scored again later on and it might have been another game – we would have been in control, gained confidence. That's too bad.

I'm the leader, I take the blame. There is no need to look for scapegoats. I'm the leader of this team, they've been a fantastic team, a great team over these three weeks – great behaviour, they did everything they could do. They prepared well and had two – three – good games. But it was not enough. I am very, very, very disappointed, the biggest disappointment of my life.

João Benedito, Portugal goalkeeper
There is not much to say and it is very difficult for me to try to analyse the match in a cold, rational way. We are very down and it is way too early for us to put aside what we are feeling and talk about what exactly went wrong. We had our chances to score and they had theirs.

It was a very even and tight game but unfortunately we failed once again. We are sad but we will learn from what happened here, we will lift our heads and start to think about our next battles. We will do everything in our power so this won't happen again.

Last updated: 29/10/12 14.44CET

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