Bento praises Portuguese efficiency
Portugal coach Paulo Bento said efficiency was the key to his side's 1-0 Uefa Euro 2012™ quarterfinal victory over Czech Republic at the National Stadium on Thursday.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the star of the show and scored the winning goal 11 minutes from time but Bento said it was his side's collective ability to control the game in both defence and attack that made the real difference.
And that despite a tame opening to the game.
"We didn't start very well in attack. We weren't very efficient when we were in possession of the ball in the first part of the game." he said.
"Then we dominated more. We controlled the game in a different way, we were playing quicker and then in the second half we showed great quality.
"We dominated the game throughout and it is very important that when you dominate the game you're efficient in attack as well as defence.
"We showed this at various times in the second half. The extra day of recovery that the Czech Republic had (since the group stages) wasn't so apparent in this second half.
"We simply played better."
Next up Portugal will face defending and world champions Spain or France and Bento claimed he has no preference as to who they play.
"Our aim will be to beat Spain or France, there can't be any other goal for us and this is what we will try to do."
Although midfielders Raul Meireles and Joao Moutinho both played well and Nani showed occasional sparks of his undoubted talent, it was still the Ronaldo show.
He hit the post twice, scored the winning goal and was a constant threat following the generally poor opening 25 minutes.
"Ronaldo played according to our tactical system, he has the capacity to play in the penalty area but also a little bit deeper," said Bento.
"The first 20 to 25 minutes in the first half were a lot more intense but at the same time we showed a great capacity to react to the Czechs and that's why we really deserved this result."
Rea Madrid star Ronaldo was unsurprisingly named man of the match by former Croatia striker Davor Suker.
Although he stole the limelight he paid tribute to his teammates.
"We had a lot of chances while the Czechs didn't have a single one," he said.
"We had great unity on the pitch and that's why we've reached our goal. I'd like to congratuate the whole team."
While Portugal dominated from the moment they settled, the Czechs were a huge disappointment.
Their coach Michal Bilek had said before the game they would be more defensive to try to combat Ronaldo but they took that strategy to extreme measures and never even looked like they wanted to try to win the game.
"Their strategy was no surprise, we had seen it (before) and analysed it," said Bento.
"We'd prepared ourselves in the best possible way for that strategy and to play against players of this kind.
"We knew they would try to defend very deeply and would press against us once we got into their half.
"We knew we would have to be careful about their counter-attacks because they have very quick and technical players.
"Then for the last 70 minutes we controlled the game very well, not just in attack but we also demonstrated a great tactical effort too."