Santos' team bowed out in the round of 16 on Sunday in Recife, beaten 5-3 in a penalty shootout by Costa Rica despite enjoying a numerical advantage following Oscar Duarte's 66th-minute red card.
The 59-year-old Portuguese manager's reported comments to Radio Noticias, accusing his players of chasing personal glory rather than following tactical instructions after Sokratis Papastathopoulos' last-gasp strike forced extra time, attracted criticism in Greece for the man that led the country to the quarter-finals of UEFA Euro 2012.
But Santos moved to set the record straight in an interview with Gazzetta.gr, lavishing praise on his squad for their efforts in Brazil, where they dramatically emerged from Group C courtesy of Giorgios Samaras' injury-time penalty that sunk Ivory Coast 2-1.
Santos said: "We are talking about their overall presence in the World Cup? It was fantastic. I am very proud of my team, for my players, my colleagues on the work we did together to achieve what we have achieved. In fact you ask the obvious. How can I not be happy?
"About the match against Costa Rica, I spoke about the lack of concentration that we had during the game, which cost us. We had great opportunities, but it was the fatigue, the body and mind, which cost us. The wrong choices in our final attempt.
"Do not confuse my review for the game with my judgment about the presence of the team in the World Cup. I'm very proud of the team, very proud of my players.
"We (had) many, many difficulties during these 30 days and we managed to maintain the team's cohesion. This was an achievement and this success belongs to everyone."
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