Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Spain through to the final

Spain is through to the final of the UEFA 2012 EURO Cup, playing against the winner of tomorrow's semi-final between Germany and Italy. Portugal played bravely, had chances but the statistics at the end of the game weigh heavily in favour of Spain which managed to impose its game of tiki-taka as the match wore on.

Portugal 0 Spain 0

Spain wins 4-2 on penalties

Two corners within two minutes saw a Portugal sprinting off the starting-blocks determined not to let Spain play their game called "tiki-taka" (short-passing). However as the first half wore on, Portugal was more and more watching the tiki-taka take place in front of their eyes rather than doing something about it. This is not to say that Portugal did not create chances: Ronaldo made a raid down the left on 12' and squared the ball to Nani in front of goal, heading just over.

Iniesta twice created good chances, on 9' and 29' and Spain started to control the game in terms of possession, ending the first half with an advantage of 56 to 44%. Nevertheless Portugal had 4 shots to Spain's three, two on target, and three corners to nil. Spain launched 21 attacks against Portugal's 12. And here we have the first half in a nutshell. Time for Paulo Bento to concentrate the team more in midfield than in defence, closing any channels the Spanish might have with a WM formation further upfield, waiting for the chance to launch lightning raids on the wings using Ronaldo and Nani, while at the same time blocking the Spanish short-passing game.

Things improved for Portugal slightly during the second half of the game, but the result was the same, nil-nil. Six corners for Portugal compared with three for Spain, 34 attacks for Spain against 27 for Portugal; 15 attacks in the half for Portugal against 13 for Spain. Cristiano Ronaldo could have won the game for Portugal on 90', shooting well over with the keeper to beat.

Extra time.´96' Bruno Alves blocks a shot by Pedro Rodriguez; 101' corner for Spain; 102' corner for Spain; 103' Iniesta in front of goal with the keeper to beat saw his shot saved; 104' corner.

3 corners to Spain, 11 attacks against 2 for Spain, one real chance for Spain.

Second part of extra time: one corner to Spain, none to Portugal; eleven attacks for Spain, one for Portugal...Spain was dominating and managing to impose its game, but Portugal managed to hold out.

Penalties

Xabi Alonso X João Moutinho X; Iniesta 1-0 Pepe 1-1; Piqué 2-1 Nani 2-2; Sérgio Ramos 3-2 Bruno Alves hit the bar; Fàbregas 4-2...

Portugal leaves the tournament in the semi-finals. Spain had the best of the statistics. Nobody can argue that the better team on the day passed through, although if Cristiano Ronaldo had scored from that chance...that's football.

Portugal: Patrício, Alves, Pepe, Coentrão, Pereira, Veloso, Moutinho, Meireles, Nani, Ronaldo, Almeida SUBS: Eduardo, Beto, Costa, Rolando, Lopes, Custódio, Quaresma, Micael, Viana, Oliveira, Varela, Postiga.

Spain: Casillas, Piqué, Ramos, Arbeloa, Alba, Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso, Busquets, Silva, Negredo SUBS: Valdés, Reina, Albiol, Martínez, Juanfran, Fàbregas, Cazorla, Navas, Pedro Rodríguez, Torres, Mata, Llorente.

Quarter-final 1: Czech Republic 0 Portugal 1

                                                            Ronaldo, 79'

Quarter-final 2: Germany 4 Greece 2

                            Lahm, 39;     Samaras, 55'

                            Khedira 61;   Salpingidis, 89' (pen.)

                            Klose 68;

                            Reus 74

Quarter-final 3: France 0 Spain 2

                                             Xabi Alonso, 19; 90+1 (pen.)

Quarter-final 4: England 0 Italy 0

Italy wins 4-2 on penalties

Quarter-finals

1. Czech Republic 0 Portugal 1 Thursday June 21 in Warsaw

2. Germany 4 Greece 2 Friday June 22 in Gdansk

3. Spain 2 France 0 Saturday June 23 in Donetsk

4. England 0 Italy 0 Italy wins 4-2 on penalties Sunday June 24 in Kyiv

Semi-finals

Wednesday June 27 PORTUGAL 0  SPAIN 0 Spain wins 4-2 penalties

Thursday June 28 GERMANY v. ITALY

Final

Sunday July 1

The Group Phase

Group A (FIFA ranking pre-tournament) After 3 games

 

                                   W        D         L          GF       GA      P

Czech Republic (26)  2          0          1          4          5          6

Greece (14)                1          1          1          3          3          4

Russia (11)                  1          1          1          5          3          4

Poland (65)                 0          2          1          2          3          2

Games

Russia 4             Czech Republic 1

Dzagoev (2)       Pilar

Shirokov

Pavlyuchenko

 

Poland 1              Greece 1

Lewandowski      Salpingidis

 

Czech Republic 2 Greece 1

Jiracek                  Gekas

Pilar

 

Poland 1                             Russia 1

Błaszczykowski                  Dzagoev

 

Czech Republic 1 Poland 0

Jiracek

 

Greece 1 Russia 0

Karagounis

 

Group B (FIFA ranking pre-tournament)

                                   W        D         L          GF       GA      P

Germany (2)              3          0          0          5          2          9

Portugal (5)                2          0          1          5          4          6

Denmark (10)              1          0          2          4          5          3

Netherlands (3)            0          0          3          2          5          0

  

Games

  

Germany 1 Portugal 0

Gomez

Denmark 1            Netherlands 0

Krohn-Dehli

 

Denmark 2    Portugal 3

Bendtner (2)  Pepe, Postiga, Varela

 

Germany 2 Netherlands 1

Gomez (2)  Van Persie

 

Denmark 1    Germany 2

Krohn-Dehli  Podolski, Bender

 

Netherlands 1 Portugal 2

Van der Vaart Ronaldo (2)

 

Group C (FIFA ranking pre-tournament)

 

                                   W        D         L          GF       GA      P

Spain (1)                     2          1          0          6          1          7

Italy (12)                    1          2          0          4          2          5

Croatia (8)                   1          1          1          4          3          4

Rep. Ireland (18)         0          0          3          1          9          0

 

Games

 

Italy 1               Spain 1

Di Natale     Fabregas

 

Croatia 3              Republic of Ireland 1

Mandzukic (2)       St. Ledger

Jelavic

 

Croatia 1      Italy 1

Mandzukic  Pirlo

 

Rep. Ireland 0 Spain 4

                        Torres (2); David Silva; Fabregas

 

Croatia 0 Spain 1

                Navas

 

Italy 2 Rep. Ireland 0

Cassano

Balotelli

 

 Group D (FIFA ranking pre-tournament)

                                   W        D         L          GF       GA      P

England (7)                2          1          0          5          3          7

France (16)                1          1          1          3          3          4

Ukraine (50)                1          0          2          2          4          3

Sweden (17)                1          0          2          5          5          3

 

Games

 

Ukraine 2                    Sweden 1

Shevchenko (2)            Ibrahimovic

 

England 1        France 1

Lescott         Nasri

´

Ukraine 0   France 2

                   Ménez; Cabaye

  

England 3   Sweden 2

Carroll,       o.g. Johnson

Walcott      Melberg

Welbeck

 

 

England 1 Ukraine 0

Rooney

 

Sweden 2 France 0

Ibrahimovic

Larsson

 

 

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

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