KHARKIV (Reuters) - Portugal coach Paulo Bento chose to praise his side’s group mentality rather than two-goal Cristiano Ronaldo after they “brilliantly” beat the Netherlands 2-1 on Sunday to reach the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.
Asked about criticism of a lackluster Ronaldo in the first two Group B games, Bento told a news conference: ”I think we have discussed this, I am proud of what we did as a team.
“I‘m satisfied that we have succeeded in our aim and that we did that brilliantly tonight with a great united organization in these three games we have played.”
Former world player of the year Ronaldo found his form just in time for his nation with the group going down to the wire. He coolly netted on 28 and 74 minutes after Rafael van der Vaart had opened the scoring for the Dutch who exit the tournament without a point.
“We have an identity, we have certain ideas and then the players put that into practice,” Bento added.
“They did what we asked them to do. Today we can even talk about some brilliance. It was the best game we have played so far, apart from the first 12 minutes. We have been loyal to our spirit and that is what we are proud of.”
Ronaldo was already looking forward to the quarter-final against Group A winners Czech Republic in Warsaw on Thursday. Group B victors Germany face Greece.
“Now we have to play against the Czechs and that is going to be hard but we’ll see what happens,” the man of the match said.
Writing by Mark Meadows, editing by Ed Osmond