Spain reach Euro 2012 final after shootout

Spain's Cesc Fabregas scores the decisive penalty past Portugal's Rui Patricio in Donetsk

Story highlights

  • Spain become only second team to reach three successive major tournament finals
  • Cesc Fabregas scores winning spot-kick as Spain beat Portugal 4-2 on penalties
  • Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo not involved in crucial shootout
  • Spain face Germany or Italy in Sunday's Euro 2012 final
Spain became only the second team to reach three successive major tournament finals after winning a nail-biting penalty shootout against Portugal following a tense goalless draw in Donetsk on Wednesday.
The 2010 World Cup and 2008 European champions followed West Germany into the history books as Cesc Fabregas fired the decisive penalty in off a post after Bruno Alves had hit the bar for Portugal.
Bizarrely, Portugal's key man Cristiano Ronaldo never even got to take a spot kick as he was saved for Portugal's final penalty, a tactic that backfired horribly.
In a game of few chances, Portugal worked hard to edge much of it but their pressing tactics started to backfire in extra-time as tiredness increasingly became a factor.
Spain's patience looked to have paid off as they dominated extra-time against an increasingly desperate Portuguese side, but Paulo Bento's side performed heroics to hold on and force a shootout.
Goalkeeper Rui Patricio was the central figure, saving spectacularly from Andres Inesta and Jesus Navas in extra time, then brilliantly pushing away Xabi Alonso's penalty as the shootout got under way.
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