Spain have advanced to the Euro 2012 Finals by defeating Portugal 4-2 in a shootout today in the UEFA Euro 2012 Semifinals at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine. Spain will be in their second straight Euro Finals.
Leading up to the shootout, both teams did not score a goal in regular time nor in extra time. Portugal's defense was able to disrupt the precision passing of Spain while Spain kept three players aroundat all times.
The penalty shootout ended up being similar to the one in the quarterfinal match between Italy and England.
Spain won the coin toss and chose to go first. Xabi Alonso kicked the penalty kick to the right, but Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio guessed right as well to save it. For Portugal, Joao Moutinho kicked it left, but Spain goalkeeperguess left also for the save.
It was still 0-0 as Andres Iniesta stepped up with a make to the right hand side as Patricio guessed left to put Spain up 1-0. Pepe tied it up with a strong kick to the lower left side passed the arms of Casillas.
Spain went back up 2-1 when Gerard Pique made the PK to the left past the outstretched arms of Patricio. Bruno Alves was walking towards the penalty spot, but was told to come back so thatwould take the next kick. Nani tied it back up with a booming shot that hit the top left of the net as Casillas guessed right.
Spain'scopied the chip down the middle that did. Patricio dove left while the ball sailed through for a goal to put Spain up 3-2. Next, Alves came back to kick. With his concentration being distracted by not taking the kick earlier, he hit the crossbar.
Cesc Fabregas made the final shootout goal with a kick that hit the left post and went into goal to give them the 4-2 victory. That meant that Portugal did not allow for Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the world's best players, to have a penalty kick. Portugal's coach will probably be let go for this error in strategy.
Here are the starting the lineups from the match. Both teams went with a 4-3-3 formation.
Spain -- Goalkeeper: Casillas. Defenders: Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba. Midfielders: Xavi, Alonso, Busquets. Forwards: Iniesta, Negredo, Silva.
Portugal -- Goalkeeper: Patricio. Defenders: Pepe, Alves, Joao Pereira, Coentrao. Midfielders: Veloso, Moutinho, Meireles. Forwards: Almeida, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani.