Czech Republic's Michal Bilek
banked on a defensive strategy to keep Portugal at bay on
Thursday but they ran out of steam and it was a matter of time
before their Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired opponents capitalised.
"We boosted our defence. We knew they would attack," the
Czech coach told reporters after a 1-0 defeat to a Ronaldo
header in their quarter-final clash at Euro 2012.
"In the first half we managed, but in the second we were
losing strength and it was easier for Portugal to move in and
"We knew we weren't on their level when it comes to
football," Bilek said.
The Czechs barely tested the Portuguese defence and most of
the game took place in their half but Bilek said he did not
regret his approach.
"If you open up against Portugal, they will punish you. It's
very difficult to stop them," he said.
The Czechs could only contain Portugal captain Ronaldo for
so long. The moody winger was definitely in the mood and scored
with a powerful header 10 minutes from time after twice hitting
the post with earlier efforts.
"Ronaldo is just better. He knows how to play with his head,
both feet," said Bilek.
The Czechs, who got out of Group A despite an embarrassing
4-1 loss to Russia in their opening match, were missing their
own inspirational captain Tomas Rosicky through injury.
Bilek brought in the young, inexperienced Vladimir Darida in
the hope he would offer a similar creative spark but Rosicky has
big boots to fill and the risky ploy failed.
"We always miss him [Rosicky] when he's not playing," Bilek
said. "He's an exceptional player. But the whole team showed
character and we didn't give up," .
"I can say it was a great success to go into the
quarter-finals after the disappointing match with Russia. We can
hold our heads high," he added.
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