Even Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah and captain Asamoah Gyan conceded Cape Verde was the better team in the second 45, and the Ghanaians had to "stand up to them," Appiah said, in an eventual 2-0 win.
Cape Verde had won some new supporters, as well as some games, Antunes said.
"There are a lot of people, South Africans, crying now that Cape Verde is out of the tournament," he said.
Antunes has a regular job as an air traffic controller and said the team would now follow the rest of the tournament on television with their families at home, either in Cape Verde, Portugal or France.
They would then "work toward" the next test and the next possible piece of history: qualifying for a first World Cup.
"The team is to be congratulated for the hard work," Antunes said, before departing to a round of applause from reporters.