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SEVILLE:
Portugal’s players cried in the changing rooms after their 1-0 elimination from the Euros by Belgium on Sunday, with the defending champions feeling it should have been them who advanced after dominating much of the game, coach Fernando Santos said.

The Portuguese had 24 efforts on goal compared with Belgium’s six, and they also hit the woodwork. Belgium had just one effort on target, Thorgan Hazard’s long-range rocket shot in the 42nd minute that won the game.

“The ball would just not go in,” Santos said. “We feel very disappointed and sad. Players are crying in the changing rooms, as many Portuguese will be.”

“The players gave everything they had to give, worked hard. But that’s football. They (Belgium) made six shots, one on goal and scored one goal, we had 24 shots and hit the post.”

Portugal began brightly and Diogo Jota wasted a great chance in the sixth minute, dragging his shot wide. He also missed another effort after the break, volleying over the bar from close range, while captain Cristiano Ronaldo came close with a free kick.

They further turned up the heat in the final 10 minutes with a Ruben Dias header before Raphael Guerreiro struck the post with a sweet first-time shot from the edge of the box in the 83rd.

“We all wanted it. We believed and had confidence in our abilities,” Santos said. “We knew that if we won this one we would win out there. We were convinced that we could reach the final and win.”

“In football there is no justice and injustice, there are those who score and those who do not score. We conceded a goal and couldn’t score.”

“My players did everything to bring great joy to the Portuguese people - we did not win, but we deserved to win.”

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