Football

Spain make historic final

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Spain became only the second team in history to qualify for a third final in successive major tournaments after they defeated Portugal on penalties following 120 minutes where chances were at a premium.

Portugal can argue to have had the better of the play in the first 90 minutes, stifling Spain's creativity and troubling Vicente Del Bosque's side with slick counter-attacks.

They were, however, unable to make the most of any periods of dominance and Spain grabbed a stranglehold of proceedings in extra time, with Andres Iniesta was presented a golden opportunity to win the game before a shootout.

However, spot-kicks represented a fair end to proceedings after a game where neither side were able to dominate for long enough, and Rui Patricio gave Portugal an immediate advantage in the shootout when he saved from Xabi Alonso.

Things were all square after two penalties when Iker Casillas kept out Joao Moutinho, while Iniesta put Spain ahead when he converted from the spot.

Real Madrid centre-back Pepe made no mistake against his club-mate Casillas to level for Portugal, before Gerard Pique handed Spain the initiative once again.

Nani fired impressively into the top corner to draw Portugal level, but he was outdone by Sergio Ramos, who displayed nerves of steel to defeat Patricio with a Panenka style penalty.

Bruno Alves then crashed Portugal's fourth penalty against the crossbar before Cesc Fabregas sent Spain into the final of Euro 2012 - just about - as his conversion hit the post and rolled across the line into the opposite corner.

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