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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Chile shootout hero Claudio Bravo: I didn't play at my normal pace

Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo says he's still not at his best despite saving all three of Portugal's penalty attempts in La Roja's 3-0 shootout victory in the Confederations Cup semifinal on Wednesday.

The often-criticised Manchester City man defended spot-kicks from Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani, while Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez converted for the defending Copa America champions.

Bravo arrived in Russia with a calf injury and hadn't played an official match for club or country since April. He returned to action in Chile's final group stage match against Australia, however the former Barcelona No. 1 admitted he's still not in ideal form.

"I feel as I always do. I'm a very balanced person," Bravo said after the match. "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.

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"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.

Claudio Bravo saved all three of Portugal's penalties on Wednesday.
Claudio Bravo saved all three of Portugal's penalty attempts on Wednesday.

"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."

Chile boss Juan Antonio Pizzi hailed his keeper's heroics against the defending European champs, adding his side were deserving of their third international final in as many years.

Pizzi said: "Fortunately, Claudio was amazing in the penalty shootout, the players who scored were amazing and I think we deserve to be in the final.

"Nobody wants to be in that situation. You never know what is going to happen. But when Claudio was able to stop the first effort and Arturo scored, we calmed down a little.

"Claudio had analysed his opponents very well, he was very well prepared and that's why we were able to win.

"We needed to consider that penalties might be a possibility. I've had to take penalties as a player and it's not the same in training as in a real semi-final or a final. There are different theories.

"I think anything goes but normally we try to do what has brought us success in previous competitions. We were successful with our style in the Copa America [in which Chile have won two finals on penalties] and we did the same.

"I'm very proud of this team and the players are very proud to represent Chile in every single tournament. We are very humbled by the big responsibility we carry.

"I hope we'll be able to keep working the way we are and keep having so much success in Chilean football."

Chile were unlucky not to receive a penalty kick in extra time when substitute Francisco Silva appeared to have his foot stomped upon in the box after he'd touched the ball past a defender.

Pizzi's men then twice hit the woodwork in the final minute of the extra period.

"I think we could have scored in the 120 minutes but we had to wait for the shootout, and then we did it well," he added.

"The shootout needs players ready to do a good job. It's a very tense situation.

"Our goalkeeper had the virtue of seeing what the player was going to do. So it's true that there was luck but I wouldn't say it was only luck."

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