UEFA 2012 European Championship: Day 21

Thursday 28 June 2012


Spain (0) 0 – 0 (0) Portugal AET Spain won 4-2 on penalties

Suddenly the tournament has gone goal-shy as for the second consecutive game, it ends 0-0 and has to be decided on penalties. Talk prior to the Semi-Final was what a classic encounter this could possibly be. However, the drama did not occur until the fateful spot-kicks.

Of the game itself, Spain brought in Negredo as an orthodox centre forward in preference to Torres, with Fabregas also on the bench. From the kick-off Portugal looked to close down Spain and for the opening five minutes the Spanish looked rattled. However, Spain began to settle and Alvaro Arbeloa had an excellent chance to put the European Champions ahead. Nonetheless the last thirty minutes of the first-half belonged to Portugal as they harried and hassled Spain and Ronaldo and Nani looked dangerous going forward. Half-time came with the game level at 0-0. Surprisingly there were no substitutions at the start of the second-half and it was not until fifty minutes that Fabregas came on for the ineffectual Negredo and on the hour Navas replaced Silva. Spain looked better balanced after the changes, but the second-half was a stalemate punctuated by a series of niggly and at times physical challenges. Chances were few and far between, but in the last minute of normal time, Portugal broke quickly to present Ronaldo with a good opportunity, but he shot wastefully wide.

In extra-time, Spain came alive and totally dominated both periods. They started to pass it around with more urgency and an energy that Portugal simply couldn’t match. There was only one team looking to win it and that was Spain, with Portugal keeper Rui Patricio saving his team on a couple of occasions. However, no winner was forthcoming and so to penalties it went. And the drama began…

Xabi Alonso took the opening penalty for Spain, but it was brilliantly saved by Rui Patricio…Up stepped Moutinho for Portugal but his penalty was saved by Casillas…Iniesta scored to put Spain ahead 1-0…Pepe levelled for Portugal (1-1)…Pique slotted home to put Spain 2-1 in front…Bruno Alves walked up to take the next for Portugal, but was then sent back as Nani came forward to score and made it 2-2…Ramos then does a ‘Pirlo’ to once more put Spain in the driving seat (3-2)…Bruno Alves made his second ‘long walk’ to take a penalty but smashed it against the bar…if Spain scored next then they were through to the Final…Fabregas stepped up and his penalty hits the post and for a moment time stood still, but the ball rebounded in not out as it nestled in the net…4-2 Spain and they were through…Cue scenes of joy for Spain…the camera switched to Ronaldo, muttering to himself…he didn’t get to even take his penalty…who made that decision? If it was Ronaldo, it was not the action of a captain with the best interests of the team, this was an egotist demanding the spotlight, the glory kick…não há nenhum I na equipe…

Spain will discover their opponents tonight when Germany take on Italy in Warsaw. These two have played each other in the European Finals previously. The first encounter took place during Euro 1996 at Old Trafford in the final round of matches of Group C. Italy needed to win to progress, but could only manage a 0-0 draw as Germany went on to win the group and take the title that year. At Euro 1988 hosts West Germany took on Italy at the Rheinstadion in Düsseldorf to open Group A. Current Manchester City boss, Roberto Mancini opened the scoring on fifty two minutes, but it was cancelled out just three minutes later by Andreas Brehme. So the previous two tournament meetings have been drawn, is this third meeting going to finish all square? Are we in for a third consecutive 0-0 and penalties?

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Posted June 28, 2012 by Editor in category "UEFA 2012 Euro Championship

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