Spain Beat Portugal On Penalties
Spain last night beat Portugal in a penalty shoot out in the first European Championship semi final and now await the winners of Italy v Germany. It wasn’t the hoped for classic and was a game of few real scoring chances and finished 0-0.
It seems as if goalless draws are the same as buses. Wait for ages for one and then 2 come along at once. After 27 games featuring goals there have now been no goals scored in the last 2 matches. This game and Italy v England.
That game had a lot more intent and scoring chances but Portugal v Spain wasn’t totally without its merits.
Portugal probably realised they couldn’t afford to give Spain an inch and had to get in to tackle and close them down very early as well as hope that Spain’s usual flowing passing style had an off day.
That was the way it went, certainly in the early part of the game. But the Portuguese seemed to gradually tire and Spain came more into the game.
Both teams had trouble when they got too near the oppositions goal as they were playing with centre forwards lacking real composure and skill who couldn’t hold onto the ball.
Both these players- Portugal’s Almeida and Spain’s Negredo weren’t to see out the game and were substituted.
The best Portugal chance came right at the end of 90 minutes when Ronaldo went through for a shot at goal but hit it high and wide when he surely should have done better.
Once in extra time Spain came more into the game and created some good chances. The best being a shot from Iniesta which was well saved by Rui Patricio.
But no goals came and so just like the previous game it went into a penalty shoot out.
It looked good for Portugal straight away when Xabi Alonso’s penalty was saved but straight away Joao Moutinhos shot was saved by Iker Casillas.
Spain never looked back and scored their next 4 penalties while Portugal missed through Bruno Alves and it was all over. Spain had gone through 4-2 on penalties. They had gone through before Portugal had taken their 5th penalty. It can only be assumed it was to be Ronaldo to take this one. But he never got the chance. It seemed a really strange decision not to have a quality penalty taker and one of the most confident players around not to take one of the early penalties, but Portugal were to rue that decision.
Spain had gone through after the decisive penalty by Fabregas went in off the post. They celebrated in style after reaching their 3rd major tournament final in 4 years and the chance for a hat trick of victories.
Now they must await the winner of tonight’s semi final between Germany and Italy to see who they meet in Sundays final.