Simply Fab-Regas as Spain Shoot Down Portugal on Penalties to Seal a Final Spot

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* ESC Fabregas converted the decisive spot-kick as Spain reached the final of Euro 2012 after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out win over Portugal.

Fabregas fired his shot in off the post to send Spain through after Bruno Alves had hit the bar for Portugal.

Earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo had missed a good chance to put Portugal through in the last minute of normal time while Portugal keeper Rui Patricio made superb saves to deny Jesus Navas and Andres Iniesta in extra-time.

The Spaniards had started better, and ought to have gone ahead from their first chance in the ninth minute when Manuel Negredo pulled the ball back for Alvaro Arbeloa to fire over the bar from the edge of the box.

Andres Iniesta blazed over from long range a minute later, but Portugal threatened in the 13th minute through Ronaldo, who beat Gerard Pique down the left before crossing towards Nani, with Iker Casillas jumping to make a crucial interception.

Paulo Bento's men had clearly wrested the upper hand, suffocating the Spanish midfield and worrying their opponents through the persistent threat of Ronaldo and Nani up front.

But Spain still almost grabbed the lead against the run of play in the 29th minute, when Xavi's clever ball found Iniesta on the edge of the box, who rolled the ball onto his right foot before Team: Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao, Meireles, Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Nani, Almeida, Ronaldo. Subs: Eduardo, Custodio, Quaresma, Nelson Oliveira, Ricardo Costa, Rolando, Ruben Micael, Varela, Miguel Lopes, Hugo Viana, Postiga, Beto.

floating a shot inches over Rui Patricio's goal.

Within two minutes, Portugal had responded with an even better chance, Joao Moutinho's persistence paying off on the edge of the box as he set free Ronaldo to drill a low shot just wide of Casillas left hand post.

Portugal's control continued into the second half, with Nani almost picking out the head of Hugo Almeida from a dangerous right wing cross, and it proved enough for Vicente Del Bosque, who replaced Negredo with Fabregas up front.

Almeida wasted a good Team: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Silva, Negredo, Iniesta. Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Pedro, Torres, Fabregas, Mata, Llorente, Santi Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Reina.

chance in the 58th minute when he fired ambitiously over the Spanish bar instead of picking out Ronaldo or Nani, who were unmarked to his left and right respectively. …