Portugal was the first team on Euro-2012 who has almost beaten Spain in one match. They lacked a little bit more… Perhaps, it is “a little bit” that differ champions from those who leaves at semis.
Rumor has it Spaniards had negative impact of the too short break between quarter-final and semi-finals, because La Roja had two days of rest less than their rivals. Whether los españoles felt the tiredness or no, however, during 90 minutes of the game they looked physically worse than their rivals. The sport commentators wondered over 20-25 minutes whether Portugal would miss their ardor, but then the questions ceased, because even in the second part “European Brazilians” performed brisk and quick attacks.
In the first place, the main task of such “invasions” was to make Spaniard to move back from their net. Of course, the Portugal defenders played brilliantly. It had its fruit, because La Furia didn’t have any big chances near Rui Patrício’s net. Only Iniesta had several dangerous attempts on target from the center, nevertheless, he missed them. Spain is Spain: a lot of short passes along with attempts of Jordi Alba “to cut” the side, etc. However, they managed to make some brilliant attack too.
The one occasion of the first part seemed very vivid for us. But nobody noticed it. On the 20 minute Nani after the counterattack on the side tried to storm into the box (and almost did it) but instantly he felt down. The referee didn’t say anything but repeat showed ‘micromove’ when Sergio Ramos pulled Portuguese hand. But here comes the context: the veteran of national team that classified for semifinal by a miracle had passed World Cup and Euro winners’ defenders and the one of them was obliged to break the rules! Also he was threatened if not by red, but at least by yellow card… So, there are some problems. The Spaniards were afraid and they were in panic…
The second part didn’t change anything in Spain play and Portugal was the constant danger. Their counterattacks were amplified with combinations near the rivals’ box. Also ‘all champions’ started to violate the rules on their side and for such a player as Ronaldo, free-kicks is ‘bread and butter’.
And on the last minute of the second time, Portugal had another counterattack: firstly, three players counter two defenders, and than four players counter three. If the Raul Meireles had been a little wittier, he would have passed on Ronaldo that stormed into the box. However, the pass was too slow and only chocked with Cristiano’s ‘heels’. The star tried to do his best but missed the target.
Only in extra-time Spain found their rhythm, because they understood that, firstly, the lottery was waiting for them, secondly, they could not play penalty shoot-out – Ronaldo and Moutinho’s confidence and attacks were never in question. The high activity near the rivals’ net helped La Roja to collect themselves and beginning with 104 minute, Particio felt the storm of attacks. At least Iniesta and Ramos had two big chances. The second extra-time brought two sharp attacks of Pepe and Fàbregas Cesc. Nevertheless, everyone anticipated the penalty shoot-out.
The first penalty almost ruined the nervous system of Span fans after such a game. Rui Patrício made a great save of the Xabi Alonso kick, diving to his left to keep out the powerful penalty. Nevertheless, Iker Casillas isn’t worse his opponent. The first penalty of Portugal made by Moutinho was saved too. It isn’t so frequent 0-0 score even after two penalties. The second row of penalties made by Iniesta and Pepe was precise. The next penalty of the Spain made by Piqué met the net. Bruno Alves was heading to the penalty spot when suddenly Nani substituted him. His unstoppable effort was sent into the top corner. We were level again. The defender repeats Andrea Pirlo's penalty against England, chipping down the centre. Bruso Alves, finally came to the penalty spot, hit the crossbar from the penalty spot. And the final fifth penalty opened for Spain the road into the final. Fàbregas won it. Firing low to the bottom left corner and the ball deflected off the post and into the net.
The Spaniard went mad after such a difficult and dramatic victory and all the team headed to the net where they had a penalty shoot-out. Either sad or angry Cristiano Ronaldo stood in the center of the field. He did a lot to justify the title of the main Euro-2012 star, and his team did its best to make a sensation (because nobody was expected to see them in semis). However, the destiny decided otherwise.