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Spain become only the second team to reach a third major tournament final in succession after a 4-2 penalty victory over Portugal. They will play Germany or Italy in the final.
FABREGAS SCORES! In off the inside of the post and Spain go into the final! Ronaldo didn’t even get the chance to take the fifth!
Fabregas to win it for Spain...
ALVES HITS THE BAR! This time it is his turn and he smacks his penalty against the woodwork! 3-2 Spain.
RAMOS DOES A PANENKA! Take that, Pirlo! 3-2 Spain.
NANI SCORES! Bizarrely the United man stops Alves going up and sends him back to the half-way line as he runs up instead. He finds the roof of the net. 2-2.
PIQUE SCORES! A lovely spot kick from the defender as he tucks it inside the post. 2-1 Spain.
PEPE SCORES! It’s a fine pen from the Madrid defender against his club-mate. Right in the corner. 1-1.
INIESTA SCORES! The Barca star sends the keeper the wrong way. 1-0 to Spain.
CASILLAS SAVES FROM MOUTINHO! The Spain keeper responds with a fine stop of his own, to the right this time. 0-0.
PATRICIO SAVES FROM ALONSO! A wonderful stop from the keeper and he throws himself to his left. 0-0
Spain won the toss and will take the first spot kick.
You can check both teams’ penalty shoot-out records in our article
FULL TIME. 0-0 after extra time so penalties it is. Spain could have won the game in extra time but we have spot kicks.
Arbeloa hurtles to the byline to pull the ball back for Iniesta in the box but Portugal clear. Just seconds left now.
A lovely run from Pedro as he slaloms into the centre of the box and for a moment looks to have the chance to go down and win a penalty. He stays up though and Portugal are able to clear.
Alba, who has been superb tonight, whips in a cross, only for Pepe to get in front of Fabregas and clear. The usual disciplinary lapses aside, Pepe has had a great game.
Iniesta is called offside before he slides a pass back to Pedro but that was a suspect decision.
Spain waste a huge chance! Fabregas plays in Pedro with a gorgeous pass. He takes a couple of touches when seemingly through on goal but has to check right, allowing Coentrao to come across and make a crucial clearance.
Alonso goes into the book for a clumsy, high challenge on Ronaldo. No argument there.
Portugal make their final change as Meireles is replaced by Silvestre Varela.
Navas darts to the right of the box and hammers in a low effort that Patricio palms out. Pepe takes a touch on the loose ball and the keeper grabs it, but the referee decides it wasn’t a pass-back. Hmm. That was a close one.
Busquets slips a pass square to Fabregas and his effort loops up off Alves and into the arms of Patricio. Spain look like they want to win this game before penalties.
It’s very tense now, but we are just 11 minutes way from Spain’s grip on international football being decided by spot-kicks.
Portugal break down the left and try to cut the ball back for Ronaldo, but Spain clear in the centre of their own box.
Veloso, out on his feet, is replaced by Custodio in the Portugal midfield.
HALF TIME IN EXTRA TIME. Patricio's excellent save from Iniesta keeps Portugal in the game at 0-0.
Ramos takes the free kick and his thunderous effort sneaks just past the woodwork. A fantastic attempt.
Pepe is beginning to lose it. He brings Iniesta to ground and then has a little kick out at Pedro. Free kick to Spain.
Huge chance for Spain! Just seconds after Navas hooks a shot wide, Alba does superbly to wriggle his way into space in the box and cut a pass back for Iniesta, who sees his first-time shot palmed clear by Patricio.
Oliveira turns quickly away from Arbeloa put can’t keep the ball under control as he attempts to hurt Spain on the break. A brief flash of interest in an otherwise rather painful game.
Pepe, already booked of course, was perhaps lucky to get away with that. Having been given a reprieve he smacks a 50-yad pass out of play.
The referee stops play after Pedro goes down. Replays show he caught Pedro with his arm. That’s a move straight out of his Clasico playbook. Dirty.
Ronaldo thunders forward down the left but Pique comes across with an excellent challenge to halt his Liga rival on the edge of the box.
Spain apply pressure. Pedro causes problems down the Spain left and the ball pops out to Iniesta, who from 25 yards sees his low effort blocked.
Ronaldo heads clear from Alonso’s delivery though as Portugal stand firm.
Moutinho sticks out a leg to take the ball away from Iniesta and is ridiculously punished for a foul. That was a good tackle. Anyway, free kick to Spain...
The pace has dropped out of this game. It appears as though we are set for one of those periods of extra time where caution is the watchword.
Portugal still have two changes while Spain have made all three of theirs. I wonder if that will play into Bento’s hands.
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FULL TIME. It’s 0-0 after a fairly dire encounter so far – one shot on target from either side – so we have extra time here in Donetsk.
Veloso is the fifth Portugal player on a yellow card after going in low and hard on Alba.
Spain have a corner but in the space of two passes the ball is back with Casillas. He doesn’t look rushed.
We will have three minutes of added time.
Portugal waste a huge chance! They hit Spain on the break and suddenly find themselves three v two. The ball is played out to Ronaldo but he hammers a shot off target. That was a great opportunity to topple Spain.
Well, this hasn’t been a classic by any means, has it? Hardly any shots on target and if that doesn’t change then we have extra time awaiting us.
Shock! Xavi is taken off as Spain bring on Pedro to provide more penetration.
Alves is the latest player to earn a booking as he is penalised for a blatant foul on Fabregas. Portugal have been a bit dirty.
Ronaldo is given another go but his radar is off again as his effort soars over. Casillas looks relieved – he knows better than most what Ronaldo can do from that range.
Ronaldo’s free kick is blocked by the arm of Arbeloa, who is booked for raising his arms to stop the attempt.
Poor from Navas as he takes too long to try and play a cross in and Alves is able to clear. Portugal race up the other end of the pitch through Ronaldo and draws a foul from Alonso.
Almeida is finally replaced as Nelson Oliveira comes off the bench.
A very poor free kick from Veloso wastes a decent chance for Portugal after Ramos is penalised for a foul on Nani. This is now a pretty bad game.
Replays show that a shot from Nani caught the arm of Busquets in the box. Some referees would have given this.
Spain work the ball to Fabregas but his shot is well off target. That’s a poor attempt from the Barcelona man.
Alves with a filthy challenge on Fabregas but he somehow escapes a booking. He basically just kicked him to the floor.
Under 15 minutes to go and if Portugal can nick a goal then Spain’s reign in international football could well come to an end. It’s been a game bereft of chances but Ronaldo just needs a glimpse of goal.
Moutinho with a fine interception in midfield. He is just one letter away from being a Special One, but this has been a superb performance from the Portugal star.
Ronaldo lines the free kick up in typical fashion and gets the necessary velocity. However, the ball doesn’t dip as Ronaldo wants it to and flies over the bar.
Ronaldo dribbles into a central area, only to be brought to ground by Arbeloa. Ronaldo hasn’t really made his mark on this contest yet but this is in a good position and Casillas looks apprehensive.
Naughty. Pereira has a little kick out at Alba after tackling the Spain left back. He gets away with it though.
Oh dear. Almeida at it again. This time the striker blasts one off target from the left of the box as Nani is left frustrated. His finishing has been terrible tonight.
Spain have their first shot on target as Xavi drives an effort into the chest of Patricio from 25 yards. That was easy for the keeper.
It’s been at least three days since Xabi Alonso has tried to score from the half-way line, so the midfielder duly obliges. Not even close.
Xavi’s delivery is excellent but Almeida gets a firm head to the ball and puts it behind for a corner. Portugal clear from the second set-piece.
Pereira is booked for a sneaky foul on Fabregas as he tried to burst into the box. Spain have a free kick right on the edge of the box.
Stat from Opta: "Five of Spain’s eight goals at Euro 2012 have come in the last 30 minutes of play."
Pepe goes into the book when clattering into Madrid team-mate Alonso with an aerial challenge. Alonso requires treatment.
A second change for Spain as Jesus Navas comes on for the ineffective Silva.
Ronaldo wants a penalty when falling to the ground under minimal contact from Ramos. Busquets is annoyed and his complaints earn him a booking.
Ronaldo lays the ball off to Almeida in the left-hand channel and again he proves to be rather selfish when hammering a shot wide from the tightest of angles.
The ball breaks kindly for Almeida and he drives forward before thumping a shot over the bar from 25 yards. He had Ronaldo and Nani as options on the flanks though.
Alonso takes possession on the edge of the centre circle, looks forward but can’t spot any options in front of him. Portugal win possession and Pique cuts out a Moutinho pass for Ronaldo.
So Spain settle back into the 4-6-0 formation they have employed for so much of this tournament. It should see their possession stats rise steadily at least.
Negredo comes off after making no impact on the game. Here is Fabregas as the false nine.
Fabregas is getting ready on the bench so that could be the end of Negredo for tonight.
Now it is Portugal’s turn to apply pressure but the corner from Moutinho is poor as it flies in low. Spain make a mess of the attempted clearance but it goes behind for a goal-kick.
Spain win a first corner of the game when an Arbeloa cross is headed behind but they can’t exploit it to test Patricio in the Portugal goal.
Vicente del Bosque had no fear yesterday in building up the importance of this game but so far Spain haven’t risen to the occasion. They have been a bit lacklustre.
Portugal put pressure on Spain when attacking the box but Ramos produces a good headed clearance.
Xavi checks his run at the same time Alonso tries to play him in with a snappy pass. Alonso reacts by grabbing his face in frustration. Spain are strangely off-key tonight.
A more low-key start to the second half. Spain want to get their foot on the ball.
No changes from either side, though I suspect Negredo won’t last much longer if he continues to be anonymous.
Why not come and say hello on Twitter at half time?
HALF TIME. It’s goalless but Portugal have been very impressive. Spain are far from their best.
Spain win a free kick when Bruno Alves charges into Negredo from behind. That was very clumsy. Xavi dinks the ball forward and though Pique heads back across goal, Patricio plucks it out of the air.
Pepe is getting himself involved with the match officials, no surprise there, but it is Coentrao who is booked. The reason is a mystery but we think it is for dissent.
Stat from Opta: "Spain have won just two of their last 12 games against Portugal. Fourteen of Spain’s 16 wins against Portugal occurred before 1960."
Moutinho races 30 yards to win the ball back again. This has been some performance from the Porto man so far.
Ronaldo throws himself to the ground when bouncing off the back of Ramos and this time the Spain defender is booked for blocking off an opponent and preventing a Portugal break.
Portugal play it out from the back from Patricio. It’s really nice to see a side take on Spain on their own terms. Funnily enough it makes for a good contest.
Silva springs into action when driving through the centre of the pitch but while he spots the clever run of Iniesta, his pass has too much on it and rolls through to Patricio.
Stat from Opta: "Portugal and Spain have met three times in a major tournament, winning once each and drawing the other game."
Ouch. Nani catches a nasty one in the face when colliding with the back of Ramos on the far side. I think it would be unfair to suggest he meant it, but the Spain defender wasn’t exactly trying to get out of the way.
Portugal are playing the ball around with real confidence and have benefited from a positive approach. One wonders what France must be thinking have surrendered to Spain in the quarter-finals.
A gorgeous pass from Moutinho – who has been excellent so far – finds Pereira wide on the right. Alba takes possession but then loses the ball to Moutinho, who plays in Ronaldo. The shot is low and hard but drifts just wide.
Silly refereeing. Nani was on the charge but the ref pulled the game back for a foul. Advantage should have been played.
The best chance of the game so far! Negredo fizzes a pass central to Xavi, who lays it off again to Iniesta. His first touch gives him space and he opens up his body before curling an effort just over the bar. Nice from Spain.
Replays show the ball struck the chest of Ramos before bouncing down and hitting the lower part of his arm. There’s no way that could be construed as deliberate and therefore there is no way it can be a penalty.
Brilliant pressing from Portugal now. Moutinho twice had Pique under pressure and when the ball comes into the box again, Portugal appeal for a penalty when claiming it struck the arm of the falling Ramos. We will need a replay.
Joao Pereira and Nani combine well down the right but when the full back swings in a cross, Pique extends his leg to deflect the ball clear. Promising again from Portugal though.
Portugal are doing a good job here of unsettling Spain. Del Bosque’s side haven’t settled into their familiar rhythm just yet and look vulnerable to an extent on the counter. Fascinating so far.
A glorious backheeled flick from Joao Moutinho from a Ramos clearing header bounces to Ronaldo but his first time volley on the turn soars over the bar. That would have been some goal for Portugal.
Pique charges forward to combine with Negredo but the latter loses the ball, leaving Spain exposed. Almeida makes a clever run into space through the centre but Ronaldo doesn’t spot it and is closed down.
Whistles greet a sustained spell of Spain possession – Portugal fans, or locals who have bought into the myth that Spain are somehow a boring side?
Xavi is starting to see more of the ball now and as a result Spain are exerting more control in midfield. However, Silva fails to keep a long pass in play.
Nani launches a counter-attack but is brought down in cynical fashion. Strangely the referee lets Ramos off the hook, even if the fall was a touch theatrical.
Stat from Opta: "Portugal are making their fourth semi-final appearance at European Championship finals (1984, 2000, 2004), while they have only managed to reach the final once, on home soil in 2004."
Pressure from Portugal as they whip a corner in and Hugo Almeida is then penalised for a mystery foul in the box. This has been nice and open so far and Portugal look keen to take the game to Spain – which cannot be said of most of their opponents.
It’s a poor effort from the greasy one though as he slams his set-piece into the wall. Still, Spain would be well advised to avoid giving away fouls in those kinds of areas.
Arbeloa and Pique combine to chop down Ronaldo just outside the box. This is a free kick in a decent position for Portugal, and Ronaldo will take it.
Good persistence from Arbeloa as he tries to sneak past Coentrao but he has to resort to a foul on the Portugal left-back.
Now Portugal try to play in Ronaldo again with a long ball over the top but the captain watches it fly over his head and towards club-mate Casillas.
Ronaldo makes his first mark on the game. Portugal launch a counter-attack down the left and the forward races into space before pulling the ball back with a fine cross. However, Casillas comes to claim, preventing Nani from getting on the end of it at the back post.
Veloso halts a promising run from Negredo, who hasn’t seen a lot of the ball in these early stages. There is a lot of pressure on the striker today after he was chosen ahead of Fabregas, Torres and Llorente.
Stat from Opta: "Spain have completed 2623 passes so far at Euro 2012, more than double as many as Portugal (1159)."
Suddenly Spain are all over Portugal and Iniesta thumps a shot off target from 30 yards or so. Vicente del Bosque’s side are on top now.
Iniesta drifts into the box from the left and his pass doesn’t quite make it to Negredo. However, the ball runs free in the box and Arbeloa meets it with a side-footed effort that slides just over the bar. Not the man you want to meet the ball really.
Silva gifts possession to Portugal but Alba presses with venom and claims the ball back. Spain work the ball forward but Silva cannot find a team-mate after finding space in the box.
Xabi Alonso finds a pocket of space for the first real time and tries to play in Silva with a cute ball over the top. However, the Manchester City star can’t get the ball under control and Patricio can deal with the danger.
We get a first look at Jordi Alba, who is on the brink of signing for Barcelona from Valencia. The left-back, who loves to bomb forward, plays a one-two with Iniesta and later wins a free-kick.
Stat from Opta: "Spain have conceded just one goal so far at Euro 2012, fewer than any other side."
Bruno Alves spots Nani in space on the right wing and flings a long diagonal pass out to the winger. However, Nani miscontrols when trying to bring the ball down on his thigh and it runs out for a throw.
David Silva slips a pass forward to Negredo, who drifts to the right of the box and tries to play the ball square. However, Pepe does well to throw out a leg and block.
Spain, as ever, as pressing with great enthusiasm right from the front and Andres Iniesta chases down Pepe, putting pressure on the defender before he plays it back to Rui Patricio.
Veloso himself takes the corner and Iker Casillas stretches to tip the ball out for another corner. This time Raul Meireles takes the set-piece from the opposite side and Casillas comes to catch.
Portugal try to put pressure on the Spain right and when the ball comes central Miguel Veloso sees a long-range effort deflected out for a corner.
Portugal have had two extra days to prepare for this game, but they will need the extra energy given they will be chasing the ball for most of the following 90 minutes. Can they disrupt Spain’s passing carousel and get Ronaldo to take apart his adopted home country?
The teams emerge from the tunnel in Donetsk and there are plenty of empty seats scattered around. It’s not an easy place to get to, which may explain that. I had the pleasure of attending two games in the group stage at the Donbass Arena. Follow me on Twitter if you want.
Spain are of course Euro 2012’s pass masters – Xavi has already accrued a record 734 in the tournament, and as a team the last time they didn’t have at least 50 per cent possession in a major tournament was the final of Euro 2008 – and as our stats show, Portugal are closer to England on that particular scale.
Cristiano Ronaldo has three in his past two games – seeing off Netherlands and Czech Republic – but he has never scored in three consecutive games for his country. He has 94 caps and has already scored six goals overall in European Championship finals – only Michel Platini (nine) and Alan Shearer (seven) have netted more in the competition. Ronaldo is also the first ever player to attempt 30 shots (including blocked) in a single Euro tournament.
Here is a stat for you: If Spain win tonight (not on penalties) then Iker Casillas will become the first ever player to win 100 international matches. He will have done so in 136 games. What a tremendous record that is.
So, is it too simple to reduce this match down to one single matter: can Spain stop Cristiano Ronaldo? He has had 20 shots in his past two games at the finals, scoring three times and hitting the woodwork four times, and his individual brilliance could be decisive if Portugal see enough of the ball. Spain – accused in some quarters of being boring with their stifling brand of possession football – will look to deny it them at every opportunity.
Portugal are without a major trophy and are still haunted by their failure to win the 2004 final on home turf against Greece in 2004. They were eliminated by Spain in the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup but in November of the same year hammered their Iberian neighbours 4-0 in a friendly. Spain have only won two of their past 12 games against Portugal.
Spain are of course hoping to become the first ever team to win three consecutive major international tournaments, and the first since West Germany in the 1970s to reach three consecutive major finals. They haven’t conceded a goal in knockout games since the 2006 World Cup, a run stretching back eight games.
If this proves a tight game then the first of two semi-finals could be settled on penalties. We have explored the record of the four semi-finalists from the penalty spot.
Portugal’s only change is Hugo Almeida coming into the starting XI in place of the injured Helder Postiga. One man has been soaking up all the attention so far though, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who may just be one of the only men capable of toppling Spain.
If it's a big surprise that Spain are finally starting with a striker, it's a bigger one that Alvaro Negredo is the man up front ahead of Fernando Torres or Fernando Llorente. We can only assume that the consistently overlooked Llorente must have run over Vicente del Bosque's dog in the run-up to the tournament.
TEAMS - Portugal: 12-Rui Patricio; 21-Joao Pereira, 2-Bruno Alves, 3-Pepe, 5-Fabio Coentrao; 16-Raul Meireles, 4-Miguel Veloso, 8-Joao Moutinho; 17-Nani, 9-Hugo Almeida, 7-Cristiano Ronaldo //// Spain: 1-Iker Casillas; 17-Alvaro Arbeloa, 15-Sergio Ramos, 3-Gerard Pique, 18-Jordi Alba; 16-Sergio Busquets, 14-Xabi Alonso; 8-Xavi, 6-Andres Iniesta, 21-David Silva; 11-Alvaro Negredo
Good evening everyone and welcome to our live coverage of what should be a superb semi-final at Euro 2012: world and European champions Spain against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal .
|17/11/2010||Portugal||4 - 0||Spain|
|29/06/2010||Spain||1 - 0||Portugal|
|15/02/2005||Spain||3 - 1||Portugal|
|20/06/2004||Portugal||1 - 0||Spain|
|06/09/2003||Spain||3 - 0||Portugal|
|Portugal||1 - 0||Czech Republic|
|Portugal||2 - 1||Netherlands|
|Portugal||3 - 2||Denmark|
|Germany||1 - 0||Portugal|
|Turkey||3 - 1||Portugal|
|Spain||2 - 0||France|
|Spain||1 - 0||Croatia|
|Spain||4 - 0||Republic of Ireland|
|Spain||1 - 1||Italy|
|Spain||1 - 0||China PR|