Chile head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi lauded Claudio Bravo for the goalkeeper’s heroics in the penalty shootout victory over Portugal which secured a place in the Confederations Cup final.
The match was goalless at the end of extra time and much-maligned Manchester City goalkeeper Bravo saved all three of the spot-kicks he faced in Kazan as Chile advanced to Sunday’s final against either Germany or Mexico.
Pizzi told a press conference: “Fortunately in the penalty shootout Claudio was amazing, the players who scored were amazing and I think we deserve to be in the final.
“When Claudio was able to stop the first effort after Arturo (Vidal) scored we started to feel a little more relaxed.
“Claudio had really analysed very well his opponents. He was very well prepared for that situation. That’s why we were able to win the penalty shootout.”
The South American champions had come closest to winning the contest in open play when Vidal hit the post in the penultimate minute of extra time and Martin Rodriguez struck the bar with the follow-up.
Portugal had earlier escaped when Iranian official Alireza Faghani opted not to ask the Video Assistant Referee to review a challenge by Jose Fonte on Francisco Silva, which should have been a penalty.
Bravo saved poor spot-kicks from Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani while Chile were faultless from the spot and went through 3-0 as Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez scored.
Pizzi added: “We’re very happy. We have made a huge effort and I think you could see during the game we have played incredible.
“We couldn’t score during the game. Both teams played at a very high level. Every single player has given everything.
“I think we had a couple of chances more to score, at the end of extra time. In any case it was a very balanced game.”
Portugal boss Fernando Santos defended his penalty takers, pointing to the fact the trio netted penalties as his side won the European title last year.
And Santos was magnanimous in defeat.
He said: “It was an excellent game, two excellent teams. They both showed they wanted to win.
“Portugal started very well. We were able to surprise the Chile team.
“In the first 20 minutes we were better. We had chances we didn’t score.
“In the last few minutes of extra time they did have good opportunities, but before that it was very balanced.
“Chile was the winner and the fair winner. Congratulations.”