Paulo Bento praised Portugal for their "great response" in the second half to earn a quarter-final win against the Czech Republic, while Michal Bílek was proud of his side's campaign.
Article top media content
Portugal coach Paulo Bento praised his team for their "great response" after the break as Cristiano Ronaldo's second-half goal clinched a place in the UEFA EURO 2012 semi-finals. Michal Bílek acknowledged the Czech Republic "weren't really on the same level" as their opponents, but pronounced himself "quite satisfied" his squad had reached the last eight.
Michal Bílek, Czech Republic coach
Immediately after the match we were disappointed. We had been looking forward to perhaps playing in the semi-finals and the final, and we wanted to make it happen. But now, after a few minutes, I must say we played well. We were up against dangerous opponents, who created many chances. We fought well, and I want to thank my players for that. We reinforced our defence as we knew they would attack. We managed to hold out in the first half, but we were losing energy in the second. They scored once and that was it.
Two-and-a-half years ago when I took charge, if someone had told me we'd be in the quarter-finals, after everything that happened in qualifying, I wouldn't have believed them. I have faith in my team, in their quality; I know they're good. Right now, I'm quite satisfied. We've created a team with great qualities, great spirit, and I'm really happy we got so far especially after making such a hash of our first game. We showed our character and strength.
[Vladimír] Darida started because we wanted to defend more, and he's valuable in that regard for us. The fact he had only played twice didn't make a difference, I never doubted him. He performed well. Unfortunately we didn't have the ball possession we needed. It was as if we were waiting for our opponents to score. They were better than us and showed it in the second half. They have excellent players who play for big clubs. We knew we weren't really on the same level as them.
Paulo Bento, Portugal coach
We weren't very efficient in possession in the first 20 to 25 minutes. Then we took control of the game, increasingly dominated, and picked up the pace. We showed great quality in the second half. We dominated throughout, and when you dominate, you have to be clinical both up front and at the back. We showed that at various moments in the second half. It wasn't so apparent after the interval that the Czechs had had a day's extra rest.
After the break, we were looking to create more opportunities to shoot on goal. This game was very different to the one against the Netherlands. It was no surprise to us that the Czechs defended deep. At half-time, I highlighted some things that we could change in attack. I wanted the players to show what they showed in the final 20 minutes of the first half throughout the second. We knew we could create a lot of chances if they did this. We came back out in great shape, it was a great response in the second half.
In the semi-finals of a great tournament like this, there is always a great team with different characteristics, players of great quality, and well-drilled organisation. We don't mind who we play. It was a lot of work to get to the semi-finals, so we'll try to recover the best we can to get out on the pitch in the best condition. We have already played in Ukraine, now we'll go to Donetsk. We have our aim: it's to win against Spain or France. There can't be any other goal for us, and we'll try to do it.