Cesc Fabregas celebrates scoring the winning penalty kick with teammates at the end of Spain’s Euro 2012 semifinal victory over Portugal Wednesday in Donetsk, Ukraine.
The victory maintains Spain’s run at immortality. La Roja will attempt to become the first European team to win three successive major tournaments. As Fabregas was swarmed by his teammates, a mixture of elation and relief appeared to sweep through the crowd of 57,000 mostly Spanish supporters.
“We were lucky this time,” said Vicente Del Bosque, the Spanish coach. “We didn’t have that many opportunities and the game was very balanced.”
For Portugal, this was a heartbreaking loss for a team that got as close as anyone to toppling Spain’s dynasty. The Portuguese briefly appeared to have an edge in the shootout when goalkeeper Rui Patricio saved Xabi Alonso’s opening attempt for Spain. But they were unable to capitalize.