Shootout success written in stars for Cesc
There may have been nothing to choose between the two for 120 minutes but Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas insisted after his country's Euro 2012 semi-final penalty shootout win over Portugal that the triumph was written in the stars.
Fabregas converted the winning penalty in a 4-2 penalty success after the two teams had cancelled each other out in Donetsk, then revealed he should actually have taken an earlier effort.
"They told me I was going to take the second kick but I said no, I wanted to take the fifth one
"I had a premonition, an intuition that things were going to come off and that life had reserved something for me as nice as this," he told Telecinco.
Central defender Sergio Ramos, who helped to shackle Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, was also delighted - doubly so as he had missed for his club from the spot in the Champions League semi-final loss to Bayern Munich.
"This time I had no doubts. I was really up for it after what happened in the semis with my club. I was calm," he told Telecinco.
"It was a tough match but we have to be happy with our showing. I am so proud to be Spanish," he added.
Looking forward to facing either the Germans or the Italians in Sunday's final, he added: "May the best team win. We have already done our work and now we can dream of another final."
Keeper Iker Casillas, who saved crucially from Joao Moutinho, said the Spanish should be proud of themselves as they head into the trophy match looking to become the first team ever to win three straight major trophies after Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.
"Not many are capable of such - we'll surely come to remember this moment, above all when the time comes that we are no longer reaching finals," said Casillas, whose exploits helped to wreck the dreams of clubmates Ronaldo and Pepe, two of Portugal's standout performers.
"We have had to scrap for it and we have endured criitcism," Casillas told Radio Cope in allusion to fans and media opining that la Roja have lacked sparkle at this tournament.
"Now I hope everyone is happy, fans, the press, the players. And I hope we can keep on making them happy."
But having guessed right with Moutinho, while Bruno Alves hit the bar, Casillas admitted: "Penalties are really a question of luck. It's not long ago I knew the bitter side of the coin," he noted, in allusion to Real's loss to Bayern.
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