Spain will defend their title in the final after collecting a hard-fought shootout win against neighbors Portugal in the Euro 2012 semis.
The opening half at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine, saw no goals, which was the result of some great work from the Portuguese team.
Paulo Bento’s men were very attentive at the back and made plenty of tackles to make sure Spain would have less of an advantage in possession then in their previous games – just 56 per cent.
They made only one mistake during the first 45 minutes when they left Andres Iniesta unmarked in the box, but his curving shot missed the upper corner of Rui Patrício’s goals.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the most active man in the Portuguese attacks. Two of his long-range strikes were off target, but he still managed to force a yellow for Real Madrid teammate, Sergio Ramos.
The game remained equal after the break, but the tension was mounting, with the Turkish referee showing four yellows to Spanish players and five to their opponents.
The defending European champions tried to finish the game off in regular time, sending more men forward in the dying minutes, and were nearly found out by Portugal’s speedy counter-attacks.
Ronaldo was on the end of such a move, but his shot went over the bar, sending the semi-final into overtime.
Spain turned up the heat in the extra half hour, with Pedro Rodriguez and Jordi Alba creating the best chance of the whole 120 minutes for Iniesta, but Rui Patrício saved his team after a point-blank effort.
The shootout was inevitable on the night, with fortune favouring the holders in the end.
Portuguese defender Bruno Alves rocked the crossbar with his team’s fourth shot, while substitute Cesc Fabregas’s effort went in off the post to send Spain through to their second straight European final.
Germany and Italy will decide the other finalist when the two sides clash in Warsaw, Poland, on June 28.
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