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Roberto Martinez: Portugal showed 'incredible personality' in Euro 2024 opener

Portugal boss Roberto Martinez praised his players' resilience after a late winner earned them a 2-1 win over Czech Republic in their Euro 2024 opener.

The 2016 European champions dominated the Group F meeting in Leipzig, but fell behind against the run of play midway through the second half, Lukas Provod bending a superb strike past goalkeeper Diogo Costa.

An own-goal by defender Robin Hranac levelled the game seven minutes later, before a goal at the death by substitute Francisco Conceicao moments after being introduced sealed a dramatic victory.

"It happens in football when a team fights, everything goes well for them," said Martinez. "The Czech Republic had a lot of problems controlling the game. They didn't have that intention, but our game forced them to defend low."

He continued: "Today it's not the technical and tactical aspect. Today it's the resilience we demonstrated. It's the first time we turned around a result. Today we believed, we showed incredible personality.

"The preparation we had makes sense. I can say that today the 26 players - the 23 on the field - had options to be in the eleven. It's because the preparation was very good. Players deserve to be here. Today was a group victory, a team victory."

Martinez's side were on top throughout and enjoyed 73 per cent possession, but despite peppering the Czech goal with 19 shots it took until added time to finally secure victory.

The result sent Portugal second in the group after Turkey defeated Georgia 3-1 earlier in the day, with the top two set to meet in Dortmund on Saturday.

Czech coach Ivan Hasek reflected on a game he felt his team was unlucky to lose.

"I was angry," he said. "We played against one the best teams in the world and it was a draw (until stoppage time). It was a real pity to concede in the last minute but you saw their qualities."
 

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