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Spain clinch Euro final place after spot-kick drama

Published on: 27 June 2012

Cesc Fabregas proved the hero as Spain denied Portugal a place in the final of Euro 2012 with a 4-2 win on penalties.

Earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo had missed a good chance to put Portugal through in the last minute of normal time while Portugal keeper Rui Patricio made superb saves to deny Jesus Navas and Andres Iniesta in extra-time.

The Spaniards had started better, and ought to have gone ahead from their first chance in the ninth minute when Manuel Negredo pulled the ball back for Alvaro Arbeloa to fire over the bar from the edge of the box.

Iniesta blazed over from long range a minute later, but Portugal threatened in the 13th minute through Ronaldo, who beat Gerard Pique down the left before crossing towards Nani, with Iker Casillas jumping to make a crucial interception.

Paulo Bento's men had clearly wrested the upper hand, suffocating the Spanish midfield and worrying their opponents through the persistent threat of Ronaldo and Nani up front.

But Spain still almost contrived the grab the lead against the run of play in the 29th minute, when Xavi's clever ball found Iniesta on the edge of the box, who rolled the ball onto his right foot before floating a shot inches over Rui Patricio's goal.

Within two minutes, Portugal had responded with an even better chance, Joao Moutinho's persistence paying off on the edge of the box as he set free Ronaldo to drill a low shot just wide of Casillas left hand post.

Portugal's control continued into the second half, with Nani almost picking out the head of Hugo Almeida from a dangerous right wing cross, and it proved enough for Vicente Del Bosque, who replaced Negredo with Fabregas up front.

Almeida wasted a good chance in the 58th minute when he fired ambitiously over the Spanish bar instead of picking out Ronaldo or Nani, who were unmarked to his left and right respectively.

Belatedly, Spain started to show signs of stirring, Xabi drilling a shot straight at Patricio from long range, but despite beginning to edge possession, chances continued to be few and far between.

Ronaldo, still terrorising the Spanish defenders at every opportunity, fired a free-kick just over from 30 yards, but a game that had started brightly drifted into a dull spell in which neither side could serve up much of a threat.

Then came a glorious chance for Ronaldo in the last minute of normal time, when a Portuguese counter-attack saw Raul Meireles feed the Real Madrid man who fired over the bar from the left side of the box.

The introduction of Pedro lent some urgency to the Spanish attack in extra-time, and his run set up a chance for Iniesta in the seventh minute of the extra half hour, but his low shot was blocked in the box.

The Portuguese were plainly tiring, and Spain had an even better chance in the 104th minute, when Jordi Alba's cross found Iniesta in front of goal but Patricio managed to flap his shot wide from six yards.

Sergio Ramos slammed a long-range free-kick just over the bar before the end of the first period of extra-time, and Ramos was soon in critical action at the other end when cutting out a Fabio Coentrao ball meant for Ronaldo.

Substitute Jesus Navas was next to get the chance to break the deadlock in the 22nd minute of extra-time, picking up a ball from Arbeloa in the box and hitting a shot which Patricio did well to save down low.

Spain kept pressing, Pedro briefly burst clear before being caught by Fabio Coentrao, but by then there was a certain inevitability about a match that promised much but offered little heading to penalties.

Alonso had the first spot-kick saved by Patricio but Casillas evened things up by saving the first Portuguese penalty from Joao Moutinho.

Iniesta, Pepe, Pique, Nani and Sergio Ramos (who calmly copied Andrea Pirlo's 'Panenka' style spot-kick) all put away their penalties before Bruno Alves - who had inadvertently stepped up for the previous penalty which was eventually converted by Nani - hit the bar, leaving Fabregas to put Spain through.


  • The Great says:
    June 27, 2012 10:28 pm
    Thats the way Zambia might Chipolopolo will defend the AFCON cup final in 2013 against Ivory Coast in South Africa bcoz this time there are only two power houses in the continent Zambia and Ivory. Infact this time we'll beat ivory in the final by 2 goals to nil. The rest of the countries are escortees of the tournament. Spain plays like Zambia, they are getting to know our game.
  • van says:
    June 27, 2012 10:29 pm
    pls this is gsn and i thought news petinent to ghana football is published here.if the name has changed to uefasoccernet let me know
  • zambians are pigs says:
    June 27, 2012 11:28 pm
  • Kings Of Africa Zambia 4 u says:
    June 28, 2012 12:30 am
    Spot on, zambia and spain play alike. we are african champs, they are european champs. the superpowers of their respective continents. football in west africa is completly finished
  • Chinchinga Lapaz says:
    June 28, 2012 02:38 am
    Go & play a friendly match with them if u think chipolopolo is good & stop hidding in that village called Zambia.
  • GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:
    June 28, 2012 02:51 am
  • Champions on line says:
    June 28, 2012 04:46 am
    Breaking news: fifa has introduced a rule where a prayer will be offered before any mach. The prayer is ment to parralise any form of juju. Word of wisdom for the dark stars, change the stratage otherwise your boys will just be chassing shadows like thew did in zambia. Juju is what kelvin prince is running from, he doesnt just what to brow the trumpet
  • Magga says:
    June 28, 2012 05:43 am
    ei these zombies or zambians can talk papa. only one african cup win and u r talking lyk dis? what would u do if win it 4 times and qualify 4 the quater finals of the word cup like we have done? zambia has form and Ghana has class, dats the difference!
  • Cartey says:
    June 28, 2012 06:29 am
    These zambians shd just grow up. what has dis story got to do with u? is dat how u behave in that village called zambia?
  • Cartey says:
    June 28, 2012 06:43 am
    these zambians talk 2 much. is dat how u behave in that village called zambia? what has dis story got to do with u? no wonder ur best players play in china and dr congo... no matter how high the copper bullet flies, it can never reach the STARS!
  • Champions on line says:
    June 28, 2012 07:47 am
    @cartey i dont blame, is it because you have never traveled out side Ghana that you you think Ghana is developt? Ask those who have visited zambia before, they will tell you why Ghananians lines up for jobs here in zambia. Which part of Ghana is developt than zambia? In case you dont know, third largest shoppingmor in africa is in zambia. The secornd largest workshop in africa its in zambia, its called tazara mpika workshop, that is if you have been to school apart from being a spectator in kumasi. The lagest universit in africa is the universit of zambia, ask the ones you consider to be educated they will tell. How many five star hotels does Ghana has as compared to Zambia? Do you have an idea on why zambi will host world Turism summity? Ask those who have travelld to educate you on which country looks to be more developt between Ghana and zambia. I have spend two years in Accra and i have been to kumasi several times, is that what you call developt country? The only thing which you and may be the best the world is witchcraft.