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Time to give Portugal some credit, says Santos

Football Soccer - Portugal v Wales - EURO 2016 - Semi Final - Stade de Lyon, Lyon, France - 6/7/16 Portugal head coach Fernando Santos, Renato Sanches and teammates celebrate after the game REUTERS/Robert Pratta Livepic
Football Soccer - Portugal v Wales - EURO 2016 - Semi Final - Stade de Lyon, Lyon, France - 6/7/16Portugal head coach Fernando Santos, Renato Sanches and teammates celebrate after the gameREUTERS/Robert PrattaLivepic

By Brian Homewood

LYON, France (Reuters) - Portugal coach Fernando Santos said it was time to give credit to his team after their 2-0 win over Wales took them to the Euro 2016 final on Wednesday.

Portugal, who will face Germany or France in Sunday's final, had not previously won a game inside 90 minutes at the tournament and had been criticised for taking part in dull matches.

They struggled again to break down Wales but coasted home after Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani scored early in the second half.

"At some point they will have to say that Portugal had the merit of dismantling our opponents," Santos told reporters.

"They keep saying that merits belong not to Portugal but our opponents such as Iceland."

Portugal have not lost one of their 13 competitive matches since Santos was appointed in September 2014, although the Wales game was the first time they have won by more than a single-goal margin under his leadership.

Santos, who previously coached Greece at Euro 2012 and the last World Cup, emphasised that Portugal had not given an inch to their opponents once again.

"Portugal always have a game plan, an attacking game plan and a defensive game plan," he said.

"We know we aren't the best in the world, but we also know that it will be difficult for anyone to beat us.

"We have been an excellent team on the pitch who are sometimes pleasant to watch and sometimes less pleasant to watch," said the 61-year-old who has coached several clubs in both his homeland and Greece.

"Portugal have done what we have to do, without worrying whether we have been pretty or ugly but instead worrying about whether we have been good or bad."

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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