Cup Finals Blog

The World United Through Football

Spain Through to Final

Portugal vs Spain
Donbass Arena, Donetsk.

In a semi-final match between two of the top footballing nations in Europe we would have hoped for an exciting ninety minutes. Those days seem to be gone.

Spain’s possession football is about as exciting as a tortoise looking for ice-cream.

For Portugal, Nani might have been able to excite the fans, if he could get the ball but at least Ronaldo tried to run at the Spaniards in the thirteenth and sixteenth minutes.

Portugal hustled the Spanish with their own attacking play and frustrated them with their pressing; their desire to get the ball and run with it, through Nani and Ronaldo. So much so that Spain were forced to kick and run on the half-hour. Maybe we did have a game in the making.

Spain held the ball and frustrated the crowd once again, seven minutes from half-time. If only the world champions would play with some Brazilian flair, they might win more fans over.

Half-time: Portugal 0 – Spain 0

Spain tried to get their game going by stringing a few passes together but it all looked so uninspiring; so much so that Cesc Fàbregas replaced Álvaro Negredo, with less than ten minutes played of the second-half.

Spain’s playing with non-strikers didn’t set the world alight as the second-half deteriorated from bad to worse; aided and abetted by the referee. Having said that, he wouldn’t have had to blow his whistle all the time if the players didn’t get all edgy; Portugal’s entire back four entering the book, joined by three Spaniards.

The tense final minutes were broken by a faint, half-hearted chorus of E-span-ia, E-span-ia.

On a counter-attack in the final minute of normal time, Cristiano Ronaldo had the chance to seal the win for Portugal.

With four white shirts streaming towards Iker Casillas, all of Spain breathed a massive sigh of relief as one Real Madrid player sliced the ball high over the other.

Into Extra Time…..

Spain came alive in the final five minutes of the first period of extra-time; as Rui Patricio dived to his left to deny Iniesta.

Rui Patricio had to make another world-class save in the second period of extra-time; this time from Seville’s Jesús Navas.

Although Spain continued to pile on the pressure it would have been an injustice if they’d have nicked the game after their ninety minutes siesta.

Into Penalties….

Ronaldo didn’t get the chance to take the fifth penalty after a nervous Bruno Alves hit the bar; having earlier forgot the order and almost stepping up in front of Nani.

Fabregas then put Spain into the final; in off the post. It might have been Portugal, had Ronaldo not tried to set himself up as the glory boy with the last kick.

Final Score Portugal 0 – Spain 0 aet (2:4pens)

Teams

Travel to Portugal
12-Rui Patricio; 2-Bruno Alves, 3-Pepe, 5-Fábio Coentrão, 21-Joao Pereira; 4-Miguel Veloso, 8-João Moutinho; 16-Raul Meireles, 7-Cristiano Ronaldo, 9-Hugo Almeida, 17-Nani.

Travel to Spain
1-Iker Casillas; 3-Gerard Piqué, 15-Sergio Ramos, 17-Álvaro Arbeloa, 18-Jordi Alba; 8-Xavi, 14-Xabi Alonso, 16-Sergio Busquets; 6-Andrés Iniesta, 11-Álvaro Negredo, 21-David Silva.

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June 27, 2012 - Posted by | Euro 2012, Match Reports, Portugal, Spain | , , , , ,

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