Cesc Fabregas scored the winning penalty in the shoot out to send Spain through to Sunday’s Euro 2012 Final after a goalless draw with Portugal in tonight’s semi final
Spain finished their semi final against Portugal with Piqué, Busquets, Fabregas, Iniesta and Pedro on the pitch, after Xavi had come off late in the second half. Iniesta was the second penalty taker for Spain, putting them one up after Xabi Alonso’s effort had been saved, and Piqué, Ramos and finally Fabregas then stepped forward to give Del Bosque’s team the 4-2 win and a ticket to Sunday’s final against Germany or Italy.
Portugal cut off Spanish supply lines
Portugal made their tactics clear from the off, pressurising Spain high up the pitch and cutting off the supply lines to the creative talents of Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta and Del Bosque’s team could only manage a couple of half decent chances from Iniesta and Arbeola. Portugal themselves also found it hard to make openings, with Ronaldo their main attacking threat.
Cesc on for Negredo
Del Bosque anticipated Portugal’s tactics and began with target man Alvaro Negredo up front instead of Cesc, to give his team another outlet, but it soon became clear that that wasn’t working and Fabregas was brought on in the second half, alongside Navas for Silva and Pedro for Xavi. That extra width and the tiring Portuguese, tipped the game Spain’s way as the game went on, but it wasn’t until extra time that they had their best chance, when Iniesta saw his close range effort saved by Riu Patricio. Pedro was now really opening up the Portuguese, but the winning goal wouldn’t come and the teams were condemned to a penalty shoot out.
Piqué, Iniesta and Cesc on target in shoot out
Xabi Alonso saw his first effort saved and Casillas did the same with Moutinho’s attempt before Iniesta, Ramos and Piqué scored for Spain, Pepe and Nani put their pemalties away for Portugal and then Bruno Alves hit his effort against the bar, giving Fabregas the chance to finish the game off for Spain. The Barça man coolly stepped up and fired his winning penalty in off the keeper’s right post and Spain – with seven Barça players in their squad – are through to the Euro 2012 final.