Fabregas revels in Spanish miracle

PA Sport
Cesc Fabregas struck the decisive spot kick for Spain against Portugal
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Cesc Fabregas struck the decisive spot kick for Spain against Portugal

Midfielder Cesc Fabregas hailed Spain's penalty shootout win over Portugal as a "miracle", while coach Vicente Del Bosque called for one last mighty effort as they look to claim their third consecutive major title.

Substitute Fabregas slotted away the decisive spot-kick after Bruno Alves had struck the bar for Portugal as defending champions Spain claimed their place in the Euro 2012 final with a 4-2 win in the shootout. The match finished goalless after extra time with chances few and far between, but Fabregas was still in celebratory mood.

"Being in another final is a miracle, it's very emotional," said the midfielder.

Del Bosque praised his side's fighting spirit and looked ahead to Sunday's final against either Germany or Italy, saying: "The players have played so many matches and they have to show their best in one more.

"It was a very even match but maybe we were a little better in extra time. They looked a bit tired, but there were few chances before that. It wasn't easy to get through their defence.

"They were superior when it came to defence and we didn't have that many opportunities so it was very balanced. In extra time it was slightly different and we had lots of luck with the penalties. I would like to express my congratulations to Portugal because they played a great tournament, but we were luckier this time."

Portugal coach Paulo Bento rued his side's missed opportunities, saying: "I think we were the better team but we couldn't take our chances.

"Spain were stronger in extra time but we could have won it in the first 90 minutes because we were very good in the first half and at the end of the second half. If I had to choose a way of losing I wouldn't choose this one but you have to lose some way.

"We have in my opinion played a very good tournament. Spain is a great team and we can leave the pitch with our heads held high. We can be sure we can compete with any team in any tournament at any level. We know how to compete and that's what we've shown.

"Spain really deserve to be in the finals but, at the same time, I want to thank and praise my players for what they have shown in this tournament."

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