Spanish Victory; Portuguese Misery
Cristiano Ronaldo waves goodbye to the Euro2012 Championships
Portugal 0 - 0 Spain (2 - 4 after penalties)
The stage was set for an Iberian contest of epic proportions in the Ukrainian city of Donestk for the first of the semi-finals of the UEFA Euro 2012 championships. The Spanish football team are widely described as the best team in the world were prophesied to be victorious against their nearest neighbors Portugal.
Yet almost from the kick off whistle in a sticky humid Donestk the favorites seemed to be very well matched if not even out classed by an attacking and positive Portugal. Time and time again the underdogs went forward en masse in an attempt to take an early lead and force the Spanish in to defensive mode.
Some media correspondents billed the match as between the greatest team in the world, against the worlds greatest player, Cristiano Ronaldo, yet throughout the game the Portuguese striker didn’t find the netting. He was however a constant danger to the Spanish and was subject to more than a little rough-house treatment. Indeed Spain seemed to be playing catch up during the first half and part of the second period of normal time. Portugal were energetic and superior in their physicality especially in the midfield area preventing the usual Spanish flair from showing.
There was barely a shot at either goal during the first forty-five minutes, yet there was a little Spanish fight back with a couple of moments of utter brilliance. However no matter how good they seemed they still couldn’t break the feisty Portuguese back four. There was something valiant about Portugal as they battled forward and Ronaldo thumped a dipping free-kick over the woodwork in the 73th minute. Just ten minutes later he again walloped the ball over and it looked increasingly likely the game was heading to extra time.
After the short break extra time kicked off and it was like watching a different Spanish side, they were all over the place, running here there and everywhere. The tackled, they passed, they attacked with the heart and pride of a lion, albeit a toothless one. There may have been many tired legs running around the pitch in the impressive stadium but they gave it their all. Sadly even after two fifteen minute half’s of extra time it still remained an equal score line of nil nil.Continued on the next page