Euro 2012 Portugal vs Spain: Live Report

Nick Morrison
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Spain's players celebrate at the end of their penalty shootout victory over Portugal

Spain's players celebrate at the end of their penalty shootout victory over Portugal in the Euro 2012 semi-final at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, on June 27. Spain won 4-2 on penalties after the game finished 0-0 after extra-time

AFP IS NOW CLOSING THIS LIVE REPORT after Spain beat Portugal 4-2 in a penalty shootout in Donetsk to claim their place in the Euro 2012 final.

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas squeezed home the winning spot-kick off the inside of a post to send the defending champions through, after a disappointing game had finished in a 0-0 stalemate following extra time.

Xabi Alonso and Joao Moutinho both saw their opening penalties saved, but Portugal blinked again when centre-back Bruno Alves slammed his side's fourth penalty against the crossbar.

Fabregas stepped up and, just as he had done in the penalty shootout win over Italy in the Euro 2008 quarter-finals, he held his nerve, steering the ball into the bottom-left corner to send Portugal out.

Read on to find out how all the action unfolded in Donetsk and join us again tomorrow for as Germany battle it out with Italy in Warsaw for the chance to meet Spain in Sunday's final in Kiev.

2155 GMT: AFP's Elodie Cuzin has sent me this snippet from a Madrid bar thronged with Spain supporters: "In a bar in the centre of the city, fans jumped onto their chairs at the moment of victory and chanted 'I am Spanish!!' at the tops of their voices."

SPAIN BEAT PORTUGAL 4-2 ON PENALTIES - La Roja go through to Sunday's final of Euro 2012 in Kiev, where they will face Germany or Italy.

GOAL! And Fabregas scores off the post to send Spain into the final!

Portugal 2 Spain 4

MISSED! Bruno Alves smacks it into the bar! Heartbreak for Portugal!

Portugal 2 Spain 3

GOAL! And Ramos pulls of a cheeky dink, Andrea Pirlo against England all over again!

Portugal 2 Spain 3

GOAL! Nani levels it with a sweet strike! He stopped team-mate Bruno Alves from taking one there and decided to take it himself!

Portugal 2 Spain 2

GOAL! Pique puts Spain ahead!

Portugal 1 Spain 2

GOAL! Pepe levels it up for Portugal

Portugal 1 Spain 1

GOAL! Iniesta scores

Portugal 0 Spain 1

PENALTY SAVED! Casillas saves from Moutinho

Portugal 0 Spain 0

PENALTY SAVED! Patricio saves from Alonso

Portugal 0 Spain 0

2118 GMT: Big huddle of Portugal's entire squad around coach Paulo Bento as he reads out the penalty-takers - and similarly from Spain.

Toss of the coin and Spain are taking the first one...

FULL-TIME, EXTRA-TIME: Portugal 0 Spain 0

We're going to have penalties in Donetsk.

29 mins: Scything run from Pedro on the left as he cuts into the area and beats three players before Portugal's defenders hack clear.

27 mins: Great defending from Pepe who hacks it clear after an excellent cross in from the left. Portugal are hanging on here.

25 mins: Another great chance for Spain! Febregas slips Pedro who bears down on goal but a bunch of Portuguese defenders get back and Fabio Coentrao clears it.

24 mins: YELLOW CARD - Xabi Alonso in the book for a late lunge on Ronaldo.

23 mins ET: SUBSTITUTION - Suilvestre Varela on for Raul Meireles - that's Portugal's final change.

21 mins ET: Great save from Rui Patricio! Jesus Navas breaks into the area down the right and fires in a low shot across the Portuguese 'keeper but he gets a firm hand to it.

18 mins ET: Ramos outmuscles Ronaldo as he tries to make a break from the halfway line - the Portugal star briefly looks hurt after being caught by the Spanish defender's heel but he's up on his feet soon enough.

2158 GMT: HALF-TIME, EXTRA-TIME: Portugal 0 Spain 0

SUSBTITUTION - Custodio on for Miguel Veloso

15 +1 mins ET: Pepe fouls Pedro just outside the area on the elft - Sergio Ramos steps up and curls in a loevely free-kick but it;'s just over. Spain upping the ante here...

13 mins ET: Great chance for Spain! The ball is whipped in from the left and finds Iniesta two yards out but Rui Patricio makes a brilliant save, palming the ball wide of his lefthand post...

12 mins ET: Some very tired legs on both sides out in Donetsk - the game has slowed to a snail's pace...

8 mins ET: Ronaldo tries to break into the area down the left but can't get past Gerard Pique who makes a great challenge.

5 mins ET: More from AFP's Ingrid Bazinet watching the game on a big screen outside the Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid: "It doesn't surprise me that Spain are struggling without Torres' pace up front - but we're going to win!" says María José Otero, a 17-year-old hotel management student.

2140 GMT: The're under way again for extra-time at the Donbass Arena - who can break the deadlock?

2135 GMT: FULL-TIME: Portugal 0 Spain 0

We're going to have extra-time after what's been a disappointing semi-final so far - just one effort on target between the sides so far.

90 + 3 mins: YELLOW CARD - Miguel Veloso is added to the referee's notebook for a challenge on Jordi Alba. That's eight bookings in total now.

89 mins: Great chance for Ronaldo - but he makes a hash of it! Portugal had a three on two break there and Meireles played in the Portugal star on the left of the box but be blasts it high and wide.

86 mins: SUBSTITUTION: The attacking Pedro on for Xavi Hernandez down the left. That's Del Bosque's final throw of the dice.

85 mins: YELLOW CARD - Bruno Alves makes it a full set of Portugal defenders in the book as he brings down Xabi Alonso.

83 mins: YELLOW CARD - Spain's Arbeloa goes in the book for blocking Ronaldo's free-kick with his arm. Te Portugal forward takes another one but can't get it to dip enough and it flies over.

80 mins: SUSBTITUTION for Portugal: Benfica's Nelson Oliveira on for Hugo Almeida

75 mins: Spain are lacking a focal point here with only Fabregas up front - can Portugal make them pay?

72 mins: Good chance for Portugal as Ronaldo is fouled by Alvaro Arbeloa 30 yards out - he lines up the free-kick, strikes it over the wall but it dips just over the crossbar.

67 mins: AFP's Levi Fernandes has sent in some colour from the Portuguese capital Lisbon: "Liberation Avenue, the capital's main street, is reverberating to the sound of television commentaries on the match.

"Many bars along the avenue are showing the game on big screens, around which hundreds of supporters are gathered, many wearing Portugal shirts and with beers in hand, others wrapped in their red and green national flags."

65 mins: Ronaldo plays in Almeida down the lefthand side of Spain's area but blasts the ball wastefully wide.

63 mins: YELLOW CARD for Portugal's Joao Pereira

Pereira steps across Fabregas as he tries to slalom into the area and is rightly booked. Xavi whips the ball in low but Hugo Almeida clears with an excellent defensive header for a corner, which Meireles deals with.

58 mins: SUBSTITUTION: Jesus Navas replaces David Silva.

YELLOW CARD for Spain's Sergio Busquets.

54 mins: SUBSTITUTION: Vicente del Bosque makes a change, bringing Cesc Fabregas on for the ineffectual Alvaro Negredo. So Spain have reverted to the no-striker policy that got them through their quarter-final over France...

50 mins: Lovely interplay from Spain - Xavi finds Silva on the right who slips in Arbeloa behind the Portugal back four. The right-back curls it across from the right but it's cleared.

1947 GMT: They're under way for the second half in Donetsk...

1943 GMT: AFP's Ingrid Bazinet says thousands of Spain supporters gathered outside Real Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium are glued to the big screens showing the game - the heat in Madrid is "sweltering", she says.

1940 GMT: Tom Williams, reporting on the semi-final at the Donbass Arena for AFP, tweeting his half-time thoughts at @tomwfootball: "Not much in that. Portugal more proactive than France were. Ronaldo present. Spain lack cutting edge despite inclusion of Negredo."

1932 GMT: HALF-TIME: Portugal 0 Spain 0

Portugal will be happier with that as Paulo Bento's tactics have kept Spain relatively quiet up front.

44 mins: YELLOW CARD for Portugal's Fabio Coentrao for dissent.

37 mins: Nice idea from Spain's David Silva who breaks from midfield and tries to play Negredo in the area - but the ball runs through to 'keeper Rui Patricio.

36 mins: YELLOW CARD for Spain's Sergio Ramos for a foul on Ronaldo.

32 mins: This is a really open game - Hugo Almeida nicks the ball from a Spanish defender and finds Ronaldo outside the area. He works the ball onto his left foot but fires it just wide of Casillas's lefthand post.

30 mins: Good chance for Spain. The reigning champions break and they find Iniesta on the left of the area but his curling effort travels just over the bar.

27 mins: Big shout for a penalty for Portugal as Sergio Ramos dives to clear with a header in the area and the ball bounces up and hits him - bit replays indicate it was mostly head and chest (possibly some arm but not deliberate..)

24 mins: Ronaldo attempts an ambitious shot on the turn from 25 yards out but the ball sails miles over the crossbar. He's clearly brimming with confidence and rightly so considering his recent form in front of goal - three goals in the last two games ...

20 mins: Nani breaks down the right wing before cutting inside between two of Spain's players - Sergio Ramos steps across him for what looks like cynical foul but the referee waves play on. Nani can count himself unlucky there.

17 mins: Ronaldo is fouled outside the penalty area on the left after being clipped by Arbeloa - but Portugal's talisman can only blast the resulting free-kick straight into a two-man wall.

12 mins: First glimpse of Ronaldo's threat for Portugal - the Real Madrid forward breaks down the left at pace and dinks in a delicate cross but Casillas claims it before Nani can get his head to it.

9 mins: Great chance for Spain - but squandered. David Silva cuts in from the left flank and into the box but it's blocked. He then finds Iniesta who cuts the ball back across the area from the left to an unmarked Alvaro Arbeloa - but the Real Madrid right-back's side-footed shot flies just over the angle of post and crossbar.

5 mins: Spain start to find their passing rhythm with Andres Iniesta picking out Jordi Alba on the left flank but his cross is blocked.

2 mins: Early possession for Portugal down the lefthand side and Raul Meireles whips in a corner but Spain's 'keeper Iker Casillas rises highest to claim with ease.

1846 GMT: KICK-OFF - they're under way in Donetsk!

1845 GMT: Both captains Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo address the crowd over the PA system about the stength their teams gain from the diversity their players' backgrounds. Part of the UEFA Respect campaign.

1840 GMT: Spain's players are wearing black armbands for the game in memory of Real Betis defender Miki Roque, who died on Sunday at the age of 23 following a battle with pelvic cancer.

1838 GMT: Spain and Portugal's players stride out into the stadium and we'll be underway after the national anthems - can Portugal upset the world and European titleholders?

1825 GMT: Spain and Portugal's players are out and warming up at the Donbass Arena - it's an impressive modern stadium with an official capacity of over 52,000 which is jokingly known to the locals as "the flying saucer" (admittedly it does look vaguely extra-terrestrial from the outside...)

1812 GMT: This has just landed from Tom Williams, AFP's correspondent at the game in Donetsk: "Portugal and Spain fans were mingling happily outside Donbass Arena an hour ahead of kick-off in the first Euro 2012 semi-final.

"Teams have complained about the heat and humidity during previous matches in Donetsk, but temperatures were noticeably cooler and there was a strong breeze blowing."

1804 GMT: ...and I should of course mention that Donetsk is also known as 'the city of a million roses', a reference to a huge rose garden in the city’s main park, one of numerous magnificent public gardens (by all accounts).

So that just begs the question - can Cristiano Ronaldo be a thorn in Spain's side tonight?

1758 GMT: Some interesting trivia about the game tonight - it will be played at the Donbass Arena, the name being a reference to the Donets Basin industrial region in the steppes of eastern Ukraine, one of the world's largest coal-mining areas.

Donetsk itself was founded in 1869 by Welsh businessman called John Hughes who built a steel plant and several coal mines in the region.

Impress (or possibly bore) your friends...

1752 GMT: Team news just in - and Spain have sprung a bit of a surprise by handing a starting berth to striker Alvaro Negredo.

Negredo, 26, had previously made just one substitute appearance at the tournament, in the 1-0 group-phase win over Croatia, but he was picked ahead of Cesc Fabregas in the Spanish attack.

The rest of the team is the same as the one that began the 2-0 quarter-final victory over France on Saturday.

Portugal coach Paulo Bento has changed his starting line-up for the first time in seven competitive games, with Hugo Almeida replacing the injured Helder Postiga up front.

In-form Cristiano Ronaldo lined up on the left flank, as he seeks a fourth tournament goal that would take him to the top of the Euro 2012 scorers' chart.

Full starting line-ups for the Donbass Arena in Donetsk then:

Portugal (4-3-3)

Rui Patricio; Joao Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao; Joao Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Raul Meireles; Nani, Hugo Almeida, Cristiano Ronaldo (capt)

Coach: Paulo Bento

Spain (4-3-3)

Iker Casillas (capt); Alvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso; David Silva, Alvaro Negredo, Andres Iniesta

Coach: Vicente del Bosque

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR)

WELCOME TO AFP'S LIVE REPORT on the first Euro 2012 semi-final between Portugal and defending champions Spain as the two Iberian neighbours battle it out for a place in Sunday's final in Kiev.

Kick-off in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk is just an hour away at 1845 GMT - stay with us for all the team news and build up to the match with input from our very own Tom Williams at the Donbass Arena.