Spain coach Vicente del Bosque praised his players after they reached the final of Euro 2012.
The reigning champions defeated Portugal 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out in Wednesday’s last-four encounter.
With the victory, Spain reached their third consecutive final at a major tournament, and their coach praised his players for their efforts in a close affair.
“We are happy, we’ve made an extraordinary effort in a very equal game all over 90 minutes,” Del Bosque told Telecinco.
“We’ve been the better team in extra-time. It was a controlled game, a very slow one. We are all happy because we got fantastic players, even after a hard season, they gave it their all.”
Del Bosque then singled out his defence, who held firm in the face of a number of good chances for Portugal, especially from Cristiano Ronaldo.
“We can discuss that we didn’t play very well, but defensively we were great, all four defenders and two defensive midfielders. We had joy with (Jesus) Navas and Pedro on the flanks,” he said.
Del Bosque said all his players were eager to shoulder the spot-kick responsibilities, regardless of the pressure.
“Everybody offered themselves to take penalties,” he said.
“Cesc got the second, but he asked for the fifth one. We wouldn’t discuss that. We had great confidence in Sergio (Ramos). The keeper was choosing one of the sides (in the shoot-out) and he did well. And Sergio’s was a good effort.
“Now, it is time to rest and prepare for the final.”
Del Bosque was reluctant to say which opponent between Germany and Italy he would prefer in the final, and instead said that his team can only worry about themselves and their own performances rather than about their rivals.
Germany face Italy on Thursday in the second semi-final, with the decider on Sunday in Kiev.
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