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Santos: We were worthy winners

Portugal coach Fernando Santos congratulated his charges on claiming third place at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, describing it as a “privilege” to coach this set of players.

“This wasn’t the match we wanted to be contesting and we were downcast, but we delivered a good display in a game in which both teams gave everything to win,” Santos said. “I think we were ultimately worthy winners because we were the better side over the 120 minutes. Mexico held nothing back either, especially at the end, but it was a fair result. We bounced back well after going behind, not offering Mexico time on the ball or openings to exploit, and my team always believed we could get an equaliser.”

With Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio having been sent off in Sunday’s match for third place, it was his assistant, Humberto Sierra, who faced the press.

“I want to highlight the players’ bravery and battling spirit,” Sierra said. “We’re pleased with their performance, and in particular, with the effort and character they showed throughout the match. It was an intense game, with both sides going all out. [After losing in the semi-finals], it was very important to us that our players produce a response against the European champions. They did just that, so we can be happy with what the team have done at the tournament.”

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who was named the Budweiser Man of the Match, felt his side deserved a better fate in Moscow. “I feel in really good form. I always work hard to try to deliver and to help my team-mates on the pitch,” he said. “Sometimes it goes well, other times less so, but that’s the life of a goalkeeper.

“The whole team deserved this award today. We put in an intelligent display against tough opposition. That’s the way you have to play in all-or-nothing encounters like this one. You can’t be too fussy about your style of play; you’ve just got to give your all. We’ll go away with our heads held high, but with a sour taste in our mouths because I think we deserved better and should’ve finished third.”

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