Spain’s Xabi Alonso has spoken of his relief after his side beat Portugal on penalties to progress to the Euro 2012 final.
In an even contest at the Donbass Arena, Portugal fell to a 4-2 defeat in the shoot-out after a two-hour long stalemate.
Despite Spain being tipped as favourites for victory, Paulo Bento’s men put up a stern fight in Donetsk and had chances to go ahead in normal time, which did not go unnoticed by the Real Madrid playmaker.
“Fortunately there was a happy ending for us, but it was tough and we had to work for it,” Alonso told reporters.
“It was a very even game. In extra time we had a lot of chances, but someone has to win and fortune smiled on us. If someone had scored in the 90 minutes they’d have won the game.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult match, we’d studied them and we knew they’d come out strong and look to take advantage of their physical qualities, and we’d also have to stop their counter-attacks.”
Alonso took Spain’s first penalty, only to be denied by Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio, but insisted he would not let the miss affect him in Kiev.
“We’re in another final now and that’s a tremendous reward,” he said.
“Whatever happens, we have to be proud. In games like this you have to keep your calm. Now we want to take the cup home.
“For my penalty the goalkeeper made a good save but my team-mates fixed it.”
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