Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo says he was injured during his penalty shootout heroics against Portugal
The Manchester City stopper has received a barrage of criticism at the Etihad since his £17million arrival from Barcelona last summer, but saved all three penalties that he faced in the penalty shootout against the European champions.
His heroics mean that Chile have now booked a place in this weekend’s final against either Mexico or Germany, but a the 34-year-old’s post-match revelation that he was playing with an injury made it all the more impressive.
“I feel as I always do. I’m a very balanced person,” he said after the game. “I was injured and didn’t play at my normal pace.
“But I normally take things calmly and this was a very special game for us. We were able to reach the final which is very important for us, we’re completing a very successful cycle. We’re happy to play in the final.”
Bravo has been carrying a thigh injury and had not featured for either club or country since April going into the tournament.
While he saved penalty kicks from Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani, Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez were all able to convert for Chile following the goal-less draw in Kazan.
And Bravo says there was more to their win than luck.
“I don’t think it’s only chance. I think you need to work a lot, you need to study your opponent. I think we played with our heads. We were quite tired at the end but playing with our heads as well as our hearts.
“I knew what I had to do. Of course we’re very happy because we’ve been able to stop the European champions.
“Portugal had many chances to score. I think the game was quite balanced. Both teams showed great respect for the other.
“The secret, I think, is that we never stop believing in ourselves and we want to do everything we can to win. We still have one more game to win.”
Germany and Mexico face each other in the other semi-final on Thursday evening, with the winners going on to meet Chile in Sunday’s final.
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