Thursday 29 September 2016, 10:05

Coelho: No excuses, Argentina deserved it

Bruno Coelho was one of the last Portugal players to emerge from the dressing room following his side’s 5-2 loss to Argentina in the semi-finals of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016. His face wore a look more of resignation than sadness, a sign that he was already coming to terms with the reverse.

Explaining his decision to stay behind to, the 29-year-old wing said: “I always prefer to be alone for a little while so I can analyse what happened and what we did wrong, and then try to correct it for the next game.”

So what did go wrong? Recalling the 98-second period in which the Argentinians scored three goals without reply, he said: “We didn’t compete enough, especially in the first half. They went 4-1 up in no time and after that it was always going to be tough for us to come back.

“It’s not as if we didn’t create chances,” added the No3, who has served up six assists in the last five games at Colombia 2016, more than any other Portugal player. “The problem was that we couldn’t take them. Anxiety crept into our game and that didn’t help either.

“I wish we could replay the game right now,” he added, though he refused to take anything away from Argentina’s achievement: “We made mistakes and we paid dearly for them, but that doesn’t mean to say Argentina didn’t deserve it. They’re in the final for a reason. They worked hard for it and I congratulate them.”

Sights set on third So what now for Portugal? “We have to get our heads back up because we’ve got a tough and very important match for third place coming up now. There’s a big difference between finishing third and fourth. It’s not the same to go home with a medal as it is to just say that you’ve played in a World Cup.”

A winner of four trophies in the last two years with his club side Benfica, Coelho planned to pick himself up by calling his wife and 14-month-old son, who, he said, prefers jumping around to kicking a ball, for the time being at least.

Turning his attention back to the team, he said: “It won’t be easy to lift morale, but we’re adults and professionals and we know what we want after losing to Argentina. The only place on the podium available to us now is third, and we’ll be doing everything we can to make it ours.”

Capped 72 times by his country since making his debut in 2010, Coelho said he believed Portugal have had a good tournament, though any final judgment will have to wait until after the match for third place against an Iran side who knocked out Brazil and who had Russia against the ropes in the other semi-final.

“I think it’s been positive for us in terms of results and I think the team is stronger now too,” he explained. “The only shame is that we’ll have to wait another four years before we can test ourselves again in the competition.”