Roberto Martínez insists Portugal “lost with pride” after quarterfinal exit

Roberto Martínez’s team are out of EURO2024 after a penalty shootout loss to France tonight, in what might be Cristiano Ronaldo’s final European Championship.

The two sides couldn’t be separated after 120 goalless minutes; it was João Félix hitting the post with his spot kick that ended up deciding the game.

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What did Roberto Martínez say?

“We played well and created many opportunities. I am proud of the players, they showed great character. We had more of the ball and demonstrated lots of personality. We deserved to win and it’s a sad moment, but the players should be extremely proud of themselves.

“The individual talent of this team is there for all to see. They showed great unity and knew how to suffer, always with the desire to win. We lost but we lost with pride, always giving everything in every minute, in true Portuguese style. We won’t stop here. In the future we will give everything.

“We had 63% possession, France wanted to play on the break and use their quick attackers and use the space – we defended that.

“I would say from our performance we deserved to win but we’re talking about the best tournament in Europe and the best players in Europe.”

There were tears for Cristiano Ronaldo after his penalty miss on Monday against Slovenia and more tears from Pepe tonight. The 41-year-old is another player who is likely to have appeared at the Euros for the final time.

Martínez said: “Pepe is a role model in Portuguese football and what he did tonight and during the tournament will stay with us during the next generations.”

He was also asked about one of the younger players, João Félix, and how he was faring after his penalty miss.

“I can tell you that the whole squad was supporting each other and only players who never shoot a penalty never miss. João has great control of the inside game, he worked hard to be there, and this penalty is bad luck. His technical quality shouldn’t lead anyone to be concerned.”

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He added: “Luck, and lack thereof, is part of football. The ball hits the post and goes in, or out. What we can control is the number of times we go into the final third. Today we controlled the game. With individual talent, if we keep creating opportunities, we will win more games than we lose.”

Finally, Martínez would not be drawn on whether this would be Cristiano Ronaldo’s final Euros. “We just finished the game, everything is too raw. We are suffering a defeat as a team, there are no individual decisions at this point.”

He concluded: “I’m just extremely proud of the players. I think they’ve showed what Portuguese football is and they’re hungry to give something very very positive to our fans one day.”

Read how Ousmane Dembélé and Didier Deschamps reacted to France’s narrow win, and follow all of the action from EURO2024, here on FromTheSpot.