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Below-par Spain move to final

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Below-par Spain move to final

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DONETSK – Far from their best, Spain still advanced to another major final yesterday, beating Portugal 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out after a scoreless draw at the European Championship.
Cesc Fabregas, who came on as a substitute in the second half of regulation time, scored the deciding penalty after Bruno Alves had hit the crossbar for Portugal moments earlier.
Spain, seeking their third straight major trophy after claiming titles at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, will next face either Germany or Italy on Sunday in Kiev.
“Being in another final is a miracle,” Fabregas said. “It’s really incredible.”
Cristiano Ronaldo had several chances for Portugal, but he sent three shots well over the bar as his team held their own for the entire match.
The Real Madrid star, who came alive with three goals in his previous two matches at the tournament, did not take a penalty in the shoot-out. He had been slated to take the fifth one, but it never got that far.
In the shoot-out, Xabi had the first attempt saved by Rui Patricio. Spain’s goalkeeper Iker Casillas saved Joao Moutinho’s shot. Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos then all scored for Spain, while Pepe and Nani scored for Portugal. (AP)