Spain reach Euro 2012 final after shootout

Cesc Fabregas was the hero again as Spain kept alive their hopes of defending the European title with a dramatic shootout win in Dontesk.

Joao Moutinho and Bruno Alves missed for Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo a frustrated, unused fifth penalty-taker.
The match finished 0-0 after extra-time with neither side doing enough to win.

The shootout start was nervy as goalkeepers Rui Patricio and Iker Casillas denied Xabi Alonso and Moutinho respectively in the first round.

Andres Iniesta calmly put Spain in front, only for Pepe to keep Portugal on terms with a clinical low finish. Spain defender Gerard Pique found the bottom left-hand corner of the net, but Nani responded by firing his spot-kick high into the roof of the net to make it 2-2.

But when Spain's Sergio Ramos nonchalantly chipped his penalty beyond Patricio and Alves hit the bar for Portugal, it was left to Fabregas, who had scored the winning penalty in the Euro 2008 quarter-final win over Italy, to send Spain into the final, drilling his penalty in off the left-hand post.

The world champions have now won their past nine knockout games at major tournaments without conceding a goal, and their past 19 competitive matches.

Spain will face either Germany or Italy on Sunday and remain on course for an unprecedented third successive tournament victory.


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