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Fabregas fires Spain into Euro 2012 final after shoot-out
11:41pm Wednesday 27th June 2012 in News
CESC Fabregas scored the winning penalty in a dramatic shoot-out to send Spain into the Euro 2012 final.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed chances for Portugal during the 120 minutes before the game reached the shoot-out stage, but – fifth in the line-up – the chance to even take a penalty was snatched away from the captain after his side had one saved and hit the woodwork with another.
Barcelona midfielder Fabregas would have held his breath for a second as his penalty went in-off the left-hand post before the scenes of celebration.
The teams could not be separated in normal or extra time, despite Ronaldo having his share of chances.
The Real Madrid forward thought he could clinch it for Portugal in the 90th minute, but the game drifted disappointingly into extra time.
Portugal keeper Rui Patricio went on to make superb saves to deny Jesus Navas and Andres Iniesta in extra-time.
Spain had threatened to draw first blood early when Manuel Negredo pulled the ball back to the edge of the box, only for Alvaro Arbeloa to fire over the bar.
Portugal retaliated, but Andres Iniesta blazed over from long range.
It set the scene for a cat and mouse game and extra time, then penalties, seemed inevitable.
Bruno Alves missed the decisive penalty, giving Spain the chance to defend their European title, with Fabregas booking their place.