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Portugal heroes thrilled to be in finals

Published: Wednesday 16 November 2011, 7.59CET
Miguel Veloso, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani all contributed superb goals to Portugal's decisive 6-2 play-off defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their joy in Lisbon was plain to see.
by José Nuno Pimentel
from Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica

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Match statistics

PortugalBosnia and Herzegovina

Goals scored6
Possession (%)0
Total attempts17
Attempts on target9
Attempts off target7
Attempts blocked0
Attempts against woodwork0
Yellow cards3
Red Cards0
Fouls committed15
Fouls suffered21


Published: Wednesday 16 November 2011, 7.59CET

Portugal heroes thrilled to be in finals

Miguel Veloso, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani all contributed superb goals to Portugal's decisive 6-2 play-off defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their joy in Lisbon was plain to see.

Miguel Veloso told that Portugal had realised their UEFA EURO 2012 dream after scoring in the 6-2 defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina that took them to their fifth straight continental finals.

A tremendous free-kick from Ronaldo and a superb shot from Nani put Portugal two up in Lisbon inside 24 minutes, but Zvezdjan Misimović's penalty moments before the break gave some hope to the visitors. Ronaldo doubled his account early in the second half and although, despite Senad Lulić's dismissal, Safet Sušić's men reduced arrears again when captain Emir Spahić scored, Hélder Postiga struck twice either side of Veloso's own free-kick to remove all doubts.

"Better than my goal was the performance from the team and the fact that we achieved our main goal," Veloso said, before discussing his strike. "That was my area. I asked Cristiano, he allowed me to take the free-kick and I managed to score

"But I want to emphasis that the most important thing was the attitude that we showed on the pitch," the 25-year-old added. "The key of this qualification was the unity of the squad, the staff, and our will, things that you could see today."

However, it was far from plain sailing as the Genoa CFC pkayer admitted. "All matches have their moments of adversity and we have to know how to deal with them. Today we were able to deal with them well and won the match. It was the most important thing."

Although the draw is not much more than a fortnight away on 2 December, Veloso is not thinking ahead to the summer yet. "Now we want to rest and celebrate this victory," he said. "These were two important matches for us as we had the dream of being in the European Championship, and we did it. When the season is over and we can all join together again in the national tem we will have to think game by game."

As for Ronaldo, not only is he only one cap away from matching Pauleta's fourth-place Portugal mark of 88, but his two goals means he has levelled Luís Figo's tally of 32. "People are used to me scoring from free-kicks, it's one of my specialties," said the 26-year-old Real Madrid CF winger. "We have to credit ourselves for this victory. The team started well and managed to score six against very difficult opponents. Now we have to enjoy the moment.

"We had a good qualification campaign, we could have managed a different result in Denmark [when they lost 2-1 to miss automatic qualification], but football is like that. Ambition, determination and belief sent Portugal to the European Championship."

Nani, who turns 25 on Thursday, was in "no doubt it was my best goal in the national team, there is no words to describe it". He added: "It was an excellent shot, a great goal. It's a special victory, we all have to be congratulated for this result and for the great attitude that we had. The Portuguese people deserve this. We had some difficulties but we managed to overcome that and we are now a much stronger side."

Last updated: 26/10/12 14.08CET