Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Portugal vs Spain Review

Wednesday evening saw the first semi final of Euro 2012.

The match saw Champions Spain take on neighbors Portugal, the Spanish were favorites for this clash however Portugal had really picked up form since their opening game and posed a real threat to their local rivals. It was going to be interesting to see which system the Portuguese would adopt to combat the Spanish.

The opening half surprisingly saw Portugal play their natural game, in their opening match they sat back against the Germans. Both sides came close as Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta had efforts that narrowly missed the target, the teams went in level at half time.

In the second half, the Portuguese seemed to drop off a bit which allowed the Spanish to take a degree of control in the game. Neither side played as if they wanted to go out and win the match as they looked scared of losing the encounter, inevitably the game headed into extra time as despite the firepower on display, no one could break the deadlock. 

Extra time saw the Spanish pile on the pressure as Portugal began to tire, despite their domination in possession the champions could not create a clear cut chance as we headed to the dreaded penalty shootout. After the opening spot kick takers both missed, the pressure intensified with so much at stake. There was still no sign of Ronaldo stepping up as Bruno Alves smashed his effort against the bar leaving Cesc Fabregas to send the champions through. 

Spain will be relieved to reach their third consecutive major final and will fancy their chances of retaining the trophy. For Portugal it's a case of what might have been as they certainly pushed the Spanish all the way here, I feel this may have been their best chance to win a major trophy gone.

Hero: Fabregas scored the winning penalty in Donetsk
The Daily Mail

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