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Proud Coleman rues Wales tiredness

Wales manager Chris Coleman was proud of his players but lamented fatigue during their 2-0 semi-final loss to Portugal at Euro 2016.

The tournament surprise packets saw their run come to an end in Lyon on Wednesday as Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani scored early in the second half.

Coleman, who was without the suspended Aaron Ramsey, was unwilling to criticise his players, but rued some tiredness.

“Anyone is going to miss Aaron, especially the way he’s been playing. But it’s not just about the XI, it’s about the squad. You’re going to miss players,” he told a news conference.

“I was delighted of the input of AK [Andy King], who worked his socks off. Aaron is fantastic at finding space, but we looked a little bit tired tonight.

“Balo [Gareth Bale], he’s a human being like the rest. He worked his socks off, ran as hard as he could and tried everything to get us back in the game, but I was proud of all of them.”

Ronaldo headed in the opening goal in the 50th minute before Nani turned a strike from the Real Madrid star past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey just moments later.

Coleman felt a mental lapse cost his team, saying: “That first goal was going to be crucial. The first half was a tight match, not much in it.

“We never got into our rhythm, our momentum, with the ball but you have to give credit to Portugal for defending well and killing the space.

“We found it hard to open the game up. When the first goal went in we just lost out concentration for five minutes. When you’re up against this kind of quality, you’ll be punished. They capitalised on that.

“But you win and you lose. We’ve done plenty of winning. It’s our turn tonight to lose, it’s not a nice feeling, but congratulations to Portugal and I hope they go on and win the final.”

As for whether Fernando Santos’ men can overcome France or Germany in the decider, Coleman said: “In a final, anything can happen.

“Portugal were criticised heavily for the way they’d played, their style, for not winning games in 90 minutes.

“To be in a semi-final you have to have something about you, and it’s not just Ronaldo. They’ve got a good togetherness, a good plan, and they stick to that plan.

“They can win the final, whether that’s France or Germany. Sometimes talent is a huge distraction. You have to have a bit of mettle as well to have a team, and I saw a team tonight in Portugal.”

Wed 6 Jul, 2016
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