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Published: 22:55 | 6/7/16

Coleman: Wales players have been fantastic


Chris Coleman has hailed his players after their Euro 2016 adventure ended with a 2-0 defeat to Portugal in the semi final at the Stade de France.

Two goals in the space of three minutes from Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani shortly after the break decided a tight game in the favour of Fernando Santos' side.

Despite having the better of a first half which featured few real opportunities, the quickfire double from the 2004 runners-up left Wales a challenge their never looked capable of meeting.

In truth, without the suspended Aaron Ramsey it was one game too far for Wales but Coleman had nothing but praise for his players afterwards.

"I'm immensely proud of the players. It's incredible, what they've done, and how they've performed," he said. "To get here is amazing but the nature of how they've achieved that too, the only game we didn't show what we are was against England. You can only ask someone to give their best. You win or you lose.

"If you lose and you've given your best, that's how it goes. But I've told the players this isn't the end. Some of them will be here a lot longer than I will be here as manager. We've come through some big tests, it's been a great experience. Now we have to go into the next campaign with the same hunger and desire as we've had over the also three years.

"I'm prouder of this team than any other team I've been involved in"I can't say I'm disappointed with any of my players. They've all been fantastic.

"The first goal in a game like this, the team that scores it gets a huge boost in confidence, and for us to concede again so quickly afterwards, it's a huge disappointment.

"I said at half-time, Portugal have paid us a huge compliment by setting up in the way they did, to deny us space, but you have to congratulate them.

"They had a plan and it worked. They played as a team and once they'd got the two goals it was too difficult for us. We couldn't do it tonight."

Coleman's opposite number Santos meanwhile, was full of praise for the Wales manager.

I expected the game to be different and it was, but there had to be a time when our quality came through," he said. "Otherwise it is always the opponents who play poorly.

"Chris Coleman is a great coach, his team was very well organised, they made it very difficult for us. They had a great run. Two years ago we set a goal for ourselves, myself and the players, that we'd be here two years later. With a lot of unity, cooperation and effort we've reached that goal.

"Now we have a final to play.

"Portugal always have a game-plan, an attacking and a defending game-plan. We know we're not the best team in the world, that's our starting point, but we also know it's not easy to beat us.

"We try to study our opponents to avoid surprises, and ever opponent is different. Today, the game-plan worked.

"I have always said sometimes we have played pretty football, other times not, but our game against Croatia was amazing, a very strategic game. We've been doing what we should do - according to me - and we don't care if it's pretty or not. Today was a prettier game though and that's good for all those watching."col

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