Portugal Coach Paulo Bento tried to take the heat off Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe after World Cup elimination.
They ultimately went out on goal difference, having lost 4-0 to Germany, drawn 2-2 with USA and beaten Ghana only 2-1.
“It’s not fair to blame individuals. We made mistakes as a team in the three matches – and I will never hold any individual responsible,” assured Bento to FIFA.
“We win and lose as a team. It’s a tough time for us and we feel down as we all wanted to qualify for the Round of 16.
“We must now grow and advance so that we don’t feel the same in 2016.”
Ronaldo missed numerous chances over all three games, while Pepe’s red card against Germany proved very costly indeed.