Rui Jorge hails Portugal spirit against England
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Portugal coach Rui Jorge was delighted with the "character" his team showed to earn a hard-fought opening Group B win over an England side left to lament their luck.
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Rui Jorge, Portugal coach
It was undoubtedly a triumph of both talent and sacrifice. I told the players that before the start of the match. I know that they have that spirit of sacrifice but in a competition as demanding as this one you have to show it on the pitch when it counts. Talent itself is just not enough. Today my players showed their character, their will to win. When you display that kind of commitment, that passion, than it becomes easier to achieve a positive result.
I really think we played well against a very strong opponent. In their last 17 matches they had managed to score every single time. It was the first time they failed to score in their campaign and that says a lot about our performance. Of course we were a bit lucky in certain moments but in my opinion we enjoyed a good game against a very difficult opponent.
João Mário, Portugal midfielder and match winner
It was a very special feeling for me to have scored the winning goal. Our team worked very hard in order to be here and it is just great to see all that work rewarded with such an important win like this one. It was a very even game but we were fortunate enough to score first. We held on to that advantage and in the end I think we deserved it.
We have to congratulate England because we faced a great team and that makes our win even better. Having said that, this was only the first match and our group remains wide open. I don't think that it was a surprise to see Sweden beat Italy because they also have a great team. Although they lost, Italy always have very strong sides and I have no doubt they will pose us all kinds of problems on Sunday.
Gareth Southgate, England coach
I think a draw would have been a fair result. We said at half-time maybe one goal decides the game and the goal we conceded was very unfortunate but that's football and that's the 48 hours we’ve had with the two injuries and the goal.
I've said to the players it is easy to be really down after a defeat in a tournament but if you don’t pick yourselves up quickly, you are not ready mentally for the next game. We have to do that because I don't think there is any disgrace in the way the players have performed. We created lots of decent openings and looked great going forward. The majority of the game we defended pretty well. It was a good game against a very good Portuguese team.
We can tidy up in one or two areas but I still believe we are good enough to get through. This is the way things work in tournaments and it is the reaction to that that determines how far you go. We've come too far together as a group to let that get them down.
Jack Butland, England captain
We deserved more from the game with the chances we had – we got between them and created chances and their keeper's pulled off some big saves. On another day, two or three of our chances get deflected and go in and it was unfortunate for us that the goal that did us fell kindly for him and he hit the post and it rebounded out to [João Mário].
There is no shame in the way we played and we have to take the way we played and the chances we created forward. If we can reproduce that against Sweden and Italy, I am hopeful we will get the points needed.