Euro 2012 Day 18 as it happened

Live text commentary as Spain beat Portugal 4-2 on penalties to reach the Euro 2012 final.

27 June 2012 Last updated at 23:02

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As it happened

  1. 2301:  

    That is about it for our coverage of the first Euro 2012 semi-final. We had to wait 120 minutes, but finally we got ourselves some drama. Spain go through to the final, where they lie in wait for either Germany or Italy, and Portugal go home. You can catch all the reports and reaction and watch highlights from tonight on this website. Tom Rostance will be in the text commentator's chair for tomorrow's second semi-final, which will also be live from Warsaw on BBC One. I'll see thee.

  2. 2301:  

    More from Spain's winning penalty taker Cesc Fabregas: "I had a funny feeling about the penalties and I was thinking about them this afternoon.

    "They told me intially to take the second one but I said no give me the fifth as I had this premonition.

    "When I stepped up to take the penalty I said to the ball that we had to make history and it shouldn't let me down."

  3. 2300:  

    So that is one finalist sorted. Now we need ourselves another. Italy face Germany in Warsaw tomorrow to decide Spain's opponents. Early team news is that Italian's Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele De Rossi and Ignazio Abate are all injury doubts, while Bastian Schweinsteiger has been declared fit (because no-one gives Schweinsteiger a raw deal).


    Adam Robinson on Twitter: "Ronaldo bottled it, no one's fault but his. His free-kicks were awful, all this theatre stupidity isn't good too. Overrated hype."

    Segun Agbaje on Twitter: "Bring on the cries of 'boring Spain, passing the ball endlessly'. Winning is why they play this game and they are good at it."

    Jack Fletcher on Twitter: "Spain played beautiful football and deserved it. What's with the knockers?"

  5. 2253:  

    Spain's winning penalty taker Cesc Fabregas: "It's very satisfying, it's a great victory for us. We have now reached three finals in four years, we can't believe it. It's amazing what football can bring you and hopefully we can be champions of Europe again in four days' time. I was just thinking that I couldn't let the country down and tried to be calm and score.

    "Before the penalty I was talking to the ball. I talked to the ball four years ago [when he scored winning penalty v Italy] and it didn't let me down.

    "I don't mind who we play in the final, the most important thing is we are in the final. Whoever goes through it will be tough."

  6. 2250:  

    All good things must come to an end and tonight Portugal learned that the hard way. This was their first penalty shoot-out loss after beating England at Euro 2004 and in the 2006 World Cup.


    Mo on Twitter: "Spain deserved that win. They were more ambitious in trying to win it especially in extra time."

    Matthew Harrison on Twitter: "Germany are surely going to be licking their lips after watching that match."

    Luke Jackson on Twitter: "I'd back Diana Ross over Bruno Alves. Was always going to miss that."

  8. 2244:  

    Portugal winger Nani: "It's very difficult when you know your team worked very well and did everything they can do. When it goes to penalties you can do nothing, sometimes you get unlucky, and this is football. Congratulations to Spain. My team-mate hit the bar. He thought it was his turn but the coach told me it was my turn. It didn't affect me I was always confident. The coach had already made his mind up about the order before the shoot-out but there was confusion between me and Bruno.

    "We had time enough to play and score goals, we had opportunities and it was difficult for both sides. On the final pass or shot we should decide better, that's why we didn't score."

  9. 2242:  

    Portugal have been denied a second European Championships final appearance and the opportunity to make amends for their surprise defeat by Greece in the 2004 final. It is now the third time they have lost in the semi-final of this competition (after 1984 and 2000).

  10. 2238:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Very often you don't get the opportunity to use your fifth penalty taker. If you score your first three it puts all the pressure on the opposition. I think Ronaldo should have lead the way, gone up, scored his penalty and taken the pressure away from some of the others. I think they've made a mistake there."

  11. 2238:  

    Finally, Spain have maintained their proud record of having never lost a major international semi-final. They are now on four out of four. Just.

  12. 2237:  

    In addition, the Spanish have now kept eight consecutive clean sheets in knock-out games at major tournaments. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas is unbeaten in 900 minutes (15 hours) in knock-out games since Zinedine Zidane's 90th-minute goal for France at the 2006 World Cup.


    Will Meredith on Twitter: "Why is Ronaldo not up first? if he is really Portugal's talisman he should lead from the front and take the first penalty."

    Toby Mann on Twitter: "Right call from Portugal. Best penalty taker takes fifth. If it comes down to the last pen you want your best man taking it."

    Daniel Murgatroyd on Twitter: "Nani has to take some blame in my opinion why not just let Alves take the penalty will of done no good doing the walk twice."

  14. 2236:  

    It wasn't their best performance (not that they'll care now), but Spain's unbeaten run in knock-out games continues. They have now gone a record 11 straight KO games without defeat. They have also now emulated the great West Germany side of the 1970s by reaching three successive major international finals. One more win will see them achieve what no other side has done - win three successive finals and retain the Henri Delauney trophy. Nobody will remember how bad this semi was then.

  15. 2233:   
    MOTD's Alan Hansen in Donetsk:

    "To play that badly for 90 minutes and then pick themselves up for extra-time is the sign of a really top side."

  16. 2232:   
    MOTD's Alan Shearer in Donetsk:

    "It's absolutely ridiculous. Ronaldo has to go before fifth, surely he's their best penalty taker? I don't understand that, he is surely their best taker? Sometimes that last one carries the most glory and most pressure but he didn't even get the chance to take one. As captain he should be putting himself forward first or second to get his side off to a good start. That's a big mistake."

  17. 2231:   
    MOTD's Alan Hansen in Donetsk:

    "Totally bizarre from Bruno Alves. I've never seen that before when someone has got all the way to the penalty area and then been sent back."


    John Gooderson on Twitter: "Nani stole Alves' mojo there."

    Alex Johns on Twitter: "Did Ronaldo bottle?"

    Nicoli van Heskey on Twitter: "Viva Espana!"

  19. 2231:  

    There was a bizarre moment involving Bruno Alves and Nani. Clearly, Alves had forgotten he was suppsoed to be taking the fourth penalty, not the third, and Nani was forced to chase him to replace him. It clearly didn't do Alves any good as then missed his designated kick.

  20. 2229:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Unbelievable. Spain have just done enough, which they've done all the way through the tournament. It was in off the post, and this is how close penalty shoot-outs can be. Inches count."

  21. 2229:  

    Cesc Fabregas wheels away in delight and leaps into the arms of Iker Casillas. They are quickly joined by their delirious team-mates. Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo - surely their best penalty taker - had clearly saved himself for the final penalty, but he never got the chance to take it. He leaves the pitch head bowed.

  22. 2226:  
  23. 2225:  
    GOAL Spain (Cesc Fabregas) 4-2 Portugal

    Fabregas seals it for Spain! In off the post it rolls over the line and Spain are through to the final.

  24. 2225:  
    MISSED PENALTY Spain 3-2 Portugal (Bruno Alves)

    Rattles the bar, he never looked comfortable and it cannons back off the woodwork.

  25. 2224:  
    GOAL Spain (Sergio Ramos) 3-2 Portugal

    Ramos does a 'Pirlo' and very cheekily chips down the middle. Delightful touch.

  26. 2223:  
    GOAL Spain 2-2 Portugal (Nani)

    A change in taker but it's a top, top penalty that hits the roof of the net.

  27. 2222:  
    GOAL Spain (Gerard Pique) 2-1 Portugal

    Cool as you like, into the corner and out of the reach of Rui Patricio.

  28. 2222:  
    GOAL Spain 1-1 Portugal (Pepe)

    Opts for precision over power and slots it beautifully into the corner, no chance for the keeper.

  29. 2221:  
    GOAL Spain (Andres Iniesta) 1-0 Portugal

    We have a goal, straight but calm and composed from Iniesta.

  30. 2220:  
    MISSED PENALTY Spain 0-0 Portugal (Joao Moutinho)

    Casillas matches his Portuguese counterpart with an outstanding save to his right.

  31. 2220:  
    MISSED PENALTY Spain (Xabi Alonso) 0-0 Portugal

    Hard and low but a fantastic save from the keeper. A firm palm away.

  32. 2220:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Under Steve McClaren at Middlesbrough after training you would take 10 penalties. You would have eight as your standard penalty and another one just in case you had to retake it. They key is not to change your mind. Know what you are going to do and stick with it. Whatever the goalkeeper does, stick with it."

  33. 2220:  

    It will Spain to go first. Here we go...

  34. 2218:  

    The Portugal squad - to a man - are huddled around coach Paolo Bento, who is telling them how it is. He had his list ready at full-time. The Portuguese players now know the plan. Can they execute it?

  35. 2217:   
    MOTD's Alan Hansen in Donetsk:

    "An amazing turnaround during extra-time. Spain pinged it about and played some great stuff."


    Adam Pothecary on Twitter: "Disappointing from Portugal, had Spain on the rack 1st half then completely shut down."

    Francis Shitawa on Twitter: "Spain v Portugal going down to the wire, great game! Who would have put his money on that?"

    Tom Watson on Twitter: "Will Portugal dare risk letting Ronaldo take a penalty?"

  37. 2214:  

    After 120 minutes of intriguing but largely shot-shy football we are down to Sepp Blatter's hatred decider. Not me. I love it. When England aren't involved, obviously.

  38. 2214:  
    FULL-TIME Portugal 0-0 Spain
  39. 2214:  

    Time is up. We are going to have ourselves a shoot-out for a place in the final of Euro 2012.


    Anthony Barr on Twitter: "Fabio Coentrao is my player of the tournament from what I've seen."

  41. 2213:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "I've been disappointed in Ronaldo and Nani. An opportunity to get at the Spain back four but they haven't really done it."

  42. 2213:  

    Spain again come forward, looking to land a knock-out blow. Pedro skips inside a couple of challenges on the edge of the box but they knock him out of his stride and he loses control of the ball.

  43. 2212:  

    Pepe has been a rock for Portugal. Again he is called upon to clear a cross, from Xabi Alonso, and the defender doesn't let his side down. 90 seconds remain.

  44. 2210:  

    Five minutes to go. Five minutes until penalties. One way or another - be it a late winner or a shoot-out - we're going to have drama at the end of tonight.

  45. 2209:  

    Spain are away! This could be it! Cesc Fabregas puts Pedro clear and he tears into the box but he is caught by a number of Portguese defenders and Fabio Coentrao cuts in to clear. The Spanish player's legs just couldn't carry him all the way there. Portugal are holding on for penalties now.

  46. 2207:  
    YELLOW CARD Spain - Xabi Alonso

    Ronaldo is caught by Xabi Alonso on the halfway line. It is an immediate yellow card from the referee.

  47. 2206:  
    SUBSTITUTION Portugal - Silvestre Varela on for Raul Meireles
  48. 2205:  

    Spain are looking like the side capable of getting a winner. Jesus Navas has space in the box to drive an angled shot low at goal. Rui Patricio gets down to block and the ball bounces back into his arms off his own defender Pepe. Patricio has made two big saves in extra-time. He might have to make some more before long.

  49. 2203:  

    Cesc Fabregas gets a sight of goal. He has a dig from distance but a deflection off a defender takes the sting out of the shot and Rui Patricio claims.


    James von Simson on Twitter: "Eleven plus exam question: If Chelsea's tactical nous is 'anti-football', Spain's six midfielders is [_____]?"

    Freddie Drapkin on Twitter: "Where has Spain's amazing football from the group stages gone? They look worn out and in need of substitutes permanently."

    Philip Bartlett on Twitter: "This is what happens when you can no longer tackle and players dive. You're reduced to a game of passing chess. Zzzzzz..."

  51. 2201:  

    Just as I had typed that Portugal were offering nothing, they come forward as Fabio Coentrao scampers down the left. His cross is aimed at Cristiano Ronaldo but does not reach him, with Sergio Ramos clearing.

  52. 2200:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "You feel going into this second half that there could be one good chance for either side, and it's just a question of whether they take it or not."

  53. 2200:  

    Spain demonstrated for the first time at the end of that first 15 minutes that they can hurt Portugal here. Will they continue in that vain this half? Will they be brave enough? Portugal are offering nothing at the other end.

  54. 2158:  
    KICK-OFF - Extra-time Portugal 0-0 Spain
  55. 2158:  
    SUBSTITUTION Portugal - Custodio on for Miguel Veloso
  56. 2158:  
    HALF-TIME - Extra-time Portugal 0-0 Spain
  57. 2158:  

    Spain suddenly have the bit between their teeth. They have a free-kick from 25 yards and Sergio Ramos hits it, but just a yard over the bar. Rui Patricio was worried as his desperate dive demonstrates.

  58. 2156:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Iniesta looks slightly fatigued and not as sharp as normal. He mistimed that shot, which is why he missed that chance."

  59. 2156:  

    That was it. That was Spain's big chance. Andres Iniesta skips in to the box to collect a flicked pass and looks certain to poke his side ahead, but Portugal keeper Rui Patricio does superbly to get down and push the shot away.

  60. 2155:  

    Jesus Navas has been as involved as any player on the pitch. He is given sight of goal with a pass out wide but his shot doesn't even go out for a throw-in on the opposite side of the pitch despite being aimed in that direction, such is it's power and placement.

  61. 2153:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Spain v Portugal. Iniesta. Xavi. Ronaldo. 100 minutes gone. Just four shots on target. That sum it all up, really. It's been so congested in the midfield and no team has been on top for more than a couple of minutes."

  62. 2153:  

    They take it short and Jesus Navas' blocked shot earns another corner. Again it is taken short, but Andres Iniesta can't even get a cross in before he is dispossessed.

  63. 2152:  

    The longer this game goes on the more the quality dips. It has been suggested that a moment of brilliance will be needed to win this, but neither side look capable of creating it. Maybe they'll just have to bundle the ball in? Spain have a corner...


    Paul Kent on Twitter: "Dare we say either side could do with a Welbeck or a Defoe who can shoot on target?"

    Daniel Phillips on Twitter: "Spain and Portugal look bored and tired."

    Rich Abrahams on Twitter: "This Spanish team have looked distinctly average in every match. Seems a shame England won their group now!"

  65. 2149:  

    Some tired legs and minds out there now. Cristiano Ronaldo has a chance to break down the left but a lazy touch allows Gerard Pique to slide in and tackle.

  66. 2147:   
    MOTD's Martin Keown in Donetsk:

    "You can't help but think that this game is going to be settled by a moment of genius from someone, the sides are so well matched. Is this the time for Cristiano Ronaldo? We've see nothing from him in open play apart from that one break."

  67. 2147:  

    Joao Moutinho remains Andres Iniesta's shadow. He puts in a great tackle on the Spaniard but is penalised for a free-kick. This could be dangerous. Xabi Alonso delivers, but again it does not beat the first man. Soon after, Pedro's cross from the left is only half-cleared by Pepe and straight to Iniesta. The defender makes amends by blocking the Spanish midfielder's shot.


    OptaJoao on Twitter: "Cristiano Ronaldo has now had 70 shots from outside the box at Euros and World Cups, but is yet to score."

  69. 2144:  

    Barring Navas' cross, this has been a typically flat start to extra-time. There is litle urgency to speak of in either side. Is fear of defeat now the overriding emotion?


    Bertie Hill on Twitter: "Do the goalkeepers still get paid for today? Might as well have 11 outfield players. Completely surplus to requirements."

    Joe Weeks on Twitter: "Only Spain could pass to their goalkeeper from a corner in the 92nd minute of a semi final at 0-0."

    Chris Campbell on Twitter: "Both sides too scared to lose it now. Spain to win 4-3 on penalties."

  71. 2141:  

    Spain on the attack straight away as Jesus Navas drives a low cross to the near post from the right. Bruno Alves is there to hammer away.

  72. 2140:  
    KICK-OFF - Extra-time Portugal 0-0 Spain
  73. 2140:  

    Right, 30 more minutes coming your way. Lets hope for more goalmouth action. I repeat, he who dares wins.

  74. 2139:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Del Bosque obviously doesn't have faith in Torres or Llorente. He's made all his changes now - there's nothing else he can do."

  75. 2139:   
    MOTD's Lee Dixon in Donetsk:

    "That's the worst I've ever seen this Spain team play."

  76. 2139:   
    MOTD's Alan Hansen in Donetsk:

    "It never really got going at all. You talk about Spanish fluency but they were not at the races and the amount of times they gave the ball away is untrue. Portugal's tactics unsettled the Spanish."

  77. 2138:  

    It was an intriguing first half but a disappointing second. Overall it has been an interesting game to a degree, but one shot on target between the two teams tells you how much goalmouth action we've had.

  78. 2137:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "We do expect more from Spain. Even in the games where they haven't played well their possession has been immaculate. Tonight simply hasn't worked for them. Portugal have been organised, strong and aggressive and have upset the Spanish rhythm. With no centre-forward Spain are certainly lacking something."

  79. 2135:  
    FULL-TIME Portugal 0-0 Spain
  80. 2135:  
    YELLOW CARD Portugal - Miguel Veloso

    That was a heavy challenge from the Portugal man on Pedro. It is a deserved booking.

  81. 2134:  

    We are into three minutes of added time.


    Lew Daney on Twitter: "There is no hypothetical scenario or parallel universe in which Germany don't win this tournament."

    Kieran Sadler on Twitter: "Very frustrating to watch these two - Spain who haven't got a striker on and Portugal who don't have the quality up front."

    Aaqib Javed on Twitter: "This game has penalties written all over it. Spain's passing isn't going anywhere and Portugal are relying solely on Ronaldo."

  83. 2134:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "That was a fantastic break by Portugal. The ball was just played behind Ronaldo, who had to have a touch and paused and couldn't get as close to the goal as he wanted to before he snatched at it."

  84. 2134:  

    Spain have a chance. They have a free-kick wide left. But again it is a poor delivery, this time from Xabi Alonso and Portugal clear. And how they clear. They set up an instant break with four white shirts tearing in on the Spanish goal. The ball is fed to Cristiano Ronaldo with a clear sight of goal but he slices his effort wide from the edge of the box. Every Portuguese in the stadium looks to the sky. That was a glorious chance to win this game.

  85. 2131:  

    Two minutes of normal time to go. Are both sides content for an extra 30 minutes or will one of them give it one last push for glory?

    Gary Lineker, MOTD presenter

    "Well this has turned out to be rubbish. Always penalties I suppose..."


    Dave in Aberdeen: "Re Adam (2115): Are you seriously suggesting that David Silva, probably the best attacking player in the Premier League last season, is not a flair player?! Let alone the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Nani, the list goes on..."

  88. 2128:  
    SUBSTITUTION Spain - Pedro on for Xavi

    Interesting move. It also means we won't be seeing Fernando Torres or Fernando Llorente tonight.

  89. 2127:  
    YELLOW CARD Portugal - Bruno Alves

    That is the complete set for Portugal now. All the back four are on bookings as Alves takes down Xabi Alonso.

  90. 2127:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Spain have had just one shot on target so far. The Spanish haven't showed any sort of form. They haven't been able to get their tikki-takka going at all. The passing in the final third has been poor, and that's really been down to Portugal's work rate. Saying that, at the other end we still haven't had the Ronaldo show yet."

  91. 2127:  

    Ronaldo beats the wall with his effort but he cannot get the ball back down quickly enough and it flies over the bar. Just over five minutes to go. Like Jedward on a see-saw this remains completely in the balance.

  92. 2125:  
    YELLOW CARD Spain - Alvaro Arbeloa

    Arbeloa handballs Ronaldo's free-kick in the wall and gets himself a booking. Ronaldo has another chance. From closer this time.

  93. 2125:  

    10 minutes to go. Can either of these teams find a late breakthrough? Portugal have a chance from another free-kick, given for a foul by Xabi Alonso on Cristiano Ronaldo. It is 30 yards out. Guess who fancies it?


    Ben Aitkenhead on Twitter: "Signs of fatigue everywhere suddenly."

    Matt Andrews on Twitter: "Everyone's saying Spain have been poor, but Portugal haven't exactly created much."

    Nick Meir on Twitter: "Why play two central strikers? It seems a midfield six is the way to go. Thank you Spain for the total regression of football..."

  95. 2123:  
    SUBSTITUTION Portugal - Nelson Oliveira on for Hugo Almeida
  96. 2122:  

    Portugal free-kick. It is wide right. It is totally wasted as Miguel Veloso swings it straight into Iker Casillas' arms. Both teams have been guilty of poor delivery from good opportunites.

  97. 2122:  

    That is very optimistic from Cesc Fabregas. He has a go from 25 yards but it is well over the bar.

  98. 2119:  

    Nani hasn't figured as much this half, but he forces a corner, which Joao Moutinho delivers for Hugo Almeida at the back post. The striker gets a head on the ball, but not enough to do anything but loop it into the arms of Iker Casillas.

  99. 2117:  

    Joao Moutinho has been brilliant this game. It is saying something that Andres Iniesta has barely done anything of note in the final third. Again, he tracks the Spaniard and dives in to rob him of the ball.


    Adam in Nottingham on text: "Why is international football so dull compared to the Premier League or Champions League? I understand that some people may suggest this is a 'fascinating tactical battle' but if we're honest it's just a boring game between two predictable teams that lack any real flair players (Ronaldo excepted!)"


    Josh Smith on Twitter: "Spain need a focal point. Get Torres on!"

    Gary Snoad on Twitter: "Spain are being made to look ordinary by a brilliantly organised Portugal team. They will feel hard done by if they lose this."

    Nik Porteous on Twitter: "Portugal have lost their rhythm completely. I can see Spain nicking this 1-0."

  102. 2115:  

    Ronaldo measures his run, focuses and runs up to strike. The ball beats the wall and dips but not enough to hit the target. It is a yard over the bar.

  103. 2114:  

    This is interesting. Cristiano Ronaldo is fouled by Alvaro Arbeloa 30 yards from goal and the winger is quick to his feet to place the ball for the free-kick. Is this his moment...?

  104. 2113:  

    Both teams are snatching at opportunities now, perhaps aware of how important they could be. Fabio Coentrao has the ball at his feet wide left but opts to cross early and it is easily cut out. A bit of patience would have served him well there.

  105. 2111:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "This game will be decided by a mistake or a moment of genius from one of those special players out there, otherwise we're heading towards extra time at the moment."

    Dan Walker, BBC Sport presenter

    "I'm finding this mildly disappointing... I wanted a 4-4! Very tense though."

  107. 2111:  

    Well, Portugal's Hugo Almeida has a game plan and he is sticking to it. Again, he shoots on sight. Again, it goes wide. Again, Cristiano Ronaldo screams in fury.

  108. 2110:  

    Spain are edging more into this game now. They nick the ball and drive forward, giving possession to Xavi in the process. The midfielder drives a shot from 25 yards that Rui Patricio clucthes to his chest. Tellingly, that is Spain's first shot on target.

  109. 2108:  

    Xavi lines up the free-kick but it is headed away well by a Hugo Almeida. It was a decent delivery, but the Portugal defence were stronger than the Spanish attack.

  110. 2106:  
    YELLOW CARD Portugal - Joao Pereira

    It is a booking for a foul on a Spanish player and could prove even more costly as it gives Spain a free-kick on the left edge of the box.

  111. 2106:  
    YELLOW CARD Spain - Sergio Busquets

    There was a yellow card I missed for Sergio Busquets of Spain. It was for waving an imaginary card, designed to get Ronaldo booked for diving.

  112. 2105:  

    Just over an hour gone and the game is delicately poised. As time ticks on both are going to become increasingly aware of the cost of conceding. Hopefully, they won't draw back as a result. He who dares wins.


    Sam Hollis on Twitter: "Am I the only person who backed Portugal at 22/1 before the tournament began? Seems like a shrewd piece of business now."

    Peter on Twitter: "Looks like Torres will only get on the pitch if the stands are evacuated..."

  114. 2104:  

    Xavi has been quieter than in other games at Euro 2012. He has made 100-plus passes in Spain's four matches so far, but at hour mark tonight he is on 50.

  115. 2102:  
    YELLOW CARD Portugal - Pepe

    The Portugal defender's elbow connects with the back of Xabi Alonso in an aerial challemge. It gets him a booking but I'm not sure what else he could have done?

  116. 2102:  
    SUBSTITUTION Spain - Jesus Navas on for David Silva
  117. 2101:  

    Almeida has another opening. Cristiano Ronaldo sets him away down the left, but with the winger again screaming for the ball, the striker shoots wide from an angle. Almeida again saw the bright lights.

  118. 2100:  

    That is a very good opening for Portugal's Hugo Almeida, but he wastes it. He blazes a shot from 25 yards wide of goal. Had he looked up he would have seen two team-mates - one of them Cristiano Ronaldo - begging for the ball in space in attacking positions. Almeida unwisely went for glory, though.

  119. 2059:  

    Portugal have another corner, thanks to the determination of Fabio Coentrao. Is this Portugal's big chance? No. Nani's delivery is useless and easily cleared by a Spanish defender.

  120. 2058:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "With that change Spain are reverting to type. Negredo hasn't really worked. Fabregas will now play at the point of a midfield six. They will now try to pass the ball more, which will depend on how tired Portuguese get."

  121. 2057:  

    It is a different challenge for the Portugal defence now. They have a "shadow nine" to figure out how to pick up. The formation has served Spain well so far in the tournament. It has also worked for Fabregas in particular. He has two goals to his name.


    Olly in London on text: "Everyone else seems to be watching a different game. For the last 20 minutes Spain have created far more space and been the better side. Everyone is, as usual, desperate to have a go at Spain (as they do with Barca) just because they've got bored of praising them. Typical and still utterly ridiculous."


    Nerfspur on Twitter: "The world has figured out how to play Spain. Spain are skilful, but desperately one dimensional. Germany would murder 'em."

    Daniel Hogan on Twitter: "Spain in need of Torres, a more direct attacking threat to win the game."

    Dove Tate on Twitter: "This Portugal squad is packed with Premier League failures: Viana, Postiga, Quaresma. OK, that Ronaldo chap was half-decent..."

  124. 2055:  
    SUBSTITUTION Spain - Cesc Fabregas on for Alvaro Negredo
  125. 2055:  

    Portugal respond by forcing a corner of their own. Joao Moutinho's cross is poor, though, and cleared at the second attempt by Xabi Alonso. Looks like we're going to get our first substitute. No surprise to see it is for Spain. Cesc Fabregas will be joining the action.

  126. 2054:  

    Here is a chance for Spain to test the Portugal defence. They have their first corner. It is taken short before Xavi's delivery is headed clear. From a subsequent attack, Spain are caught offside.

  127. 2053:  

    One big positive for Spain is that their keeper Iker Casillas has just passed the six-hour mark in terms of not conceding a goal. They aren't troubling Portugal's defence, but they remain solid at the back themselves.

  128. 2051:  

    Nani is back into the action for Portugal with a great cross from the right. It is aimed at Hugo Almeida, but he is beaten in the air by his Spanish marker.

  129. 2050:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Portugal have come out in this second half and are doing exactly the same thing. Pressing high up the pitch, putting Spain under pressure and making them play balls slightly longer than they want to."

  130. 2050:  

    More great pressing work from Portugal sees the Spain backline flirt with giving the ball away before working it out well to Xabi Alonso. Nothing Spain do is comfortable at the moment.

  131. 2049:  

    Alvaro Negredo gets an early touch in the second half. He didn't get many in the first. He is quickly closed down again this time and Portugal have the ball back. Negredo is the man most at risk of a Spain change, you would think.

  132. 2047:  
    KICK-OFF Portugal 0-0 Spain
  133. 2046:  

    The Spanish side are out on pitch, followed soon after by Portugal. No substitutions at the break. Let's hope for another half like the first, maybe with a goal or two...


    Best Tosan on Twitter: "The first 45 minutes was rather cagey. Spain don't look dangerous to say the least. Hope to see goals in the second half."

    Tom Woodcock on Twitter: "Portugal looking decent. Will be tough to keep up the intensity for 90 minutes though. Pressing is a tiring tactic."

    Faron Bloomfield on Twitter: "Negredo has one minute all tournament and is thrown in to start semi and then criticised for not performing. Blame the coach."


    Richard McAllister on Twitter: "Great first half from Portugal, really look like they've rattled the Spanish. The most enjoyable match so far."

  136. 2041:  

    According to Opta, Spain have had 60% of possession so far. That is slightly higher than the figure they had against France in the quarter-finals but down on their group games. They have also made 14 clearances to Portugal's two.

  137. 2040:   
    MOTD's Lee Dixon in Donetsk:

    "Full marks to Portugal who have been so brave. They have pressed so high up the pitch which is a gamble as if you get it wrong, Spain are in past you."

  138. 2038:   
    MOTD's Alan Shearer in Donetsk:

    "We haven't seen Negredo at all. They've not got the ball into him and he doesn't run in behind like Torres does."

  139. 2037:   
    MOTD's Alan Hansen in Donetsk:

    "Paulo Bento has got his tactics spot on. They've pressed high up the pitch at the right times and Spain have hit more long balls in that half then in the last four years. They've never settled. Xavi & Silva have struggled and it's top marks to Portugal."

  140. 2037:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Portugal's work in this first half has been absolutely phenomenal. I'd expect Spain to make a change sooner rather than later. It's starting to get heated out there. A lot of action in the middle of the pitch but not a lot of goalmouth action. I'm interested to find out what happens in the second half, and I do not expect Negredo to stay on much longer. Will Portugal be able to keep up this tempo?"

  141. 2037:  

    However, for all the plusses to Portugal's play it remains 0-0. It would be very unwise to start writing off Spain. Very, very unwise.

  142. 2035:  

    Portugal, I salute you. Paolo Bento's side have worked so, so hard that half. They have not given the usually imperious Spanish midfield a second to think, let alone control the ball and seek a pass. This has resulted in Spain giving the ball away more often than I can remember in a single half of football.

    But they are not only working hard on the defensive side of the game, they are flirting with the Spanish goal on occasion as well.

  143. 2033:  
    HALF-TIME Portugal 0-0 Spain
  144. 2033:  

    Spain go aerial. Xavi rises to head towards goal from a long diagonal ball into the box but Rui Patricio is quickly off his line to gather. That is the last action of a gripping first half.

  145. 2031:  
    YELLOW CARD Portugal - Fabio Coentrao

    Bit of a mystery. I can only assume that is for something he's said. It was the assistant who brought the offence to the referee's attention. Coentrao's team-mate Pepe marches straight to the assistant to tell him what he thinks of that.


    Chris Watkins on Twitter: "Portugal are playing very well, but the Spanish are average. Negredo is awful."

    Rich Francis on Twitter: "This Spain striker might as well not be on the pitch he's so anonymous. Time for Torres?"

    Brad Gander on Twitter: "Spain definitely looking beatable now. If they get through tonight I really can't see them beating the Germans."

  147. 2030:  

    Some route one stuff from Portugal almost pays off as Hugo Almeida gets goal-side of his marker but is just unable to reach the ball. It wasn't fitting for the football we've seen in this game so far but it was almost very effective.

  148. 2027:  

    Five minutes until half-time. This has been an engrossing game, between two evenly matched sides. Portugal have found a way to combat the Spanish passing game, without sacrificing their own threat. How often has that been done in recent years?

  149. 2026:  
    YELLOW CARD Spain - Sergio Ramos

    That is one way to deal with Ronaldo. Just block him in full flight. It is what they call a "good foul". Otherwise, Ronaldo was away.

  150. 2025:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "This is an intriguing game. Very tactical and certainly not dull, despite it still being 0-0."

  151. 2025:  

    David Silva has hardly been in the game but he comes to life with a darting run forward. But his pass into the box finds only Portugal keeper Rui Patricio. Silva and his static team-mate Alvaro Negredo stare at each other. Clearly, they need to retune their radios to the same frequency.

  152. 2023:  

    Spain's fluency has completely deserted them. This is partly due to their own failings tonight, but mainly because Portugal are disrupting them at every opportunity.

  153. 2021:  

    Nani has been good this game, but he doesn't help himself sometimes. He is sandwiched between two Spanish defenders. It isn't much but he drops like a bag of spuds. A squirt of water later and he is back up.


    Hasib Dewan on Twitter: "So much skill on show so far, beautiful to watch. Premier League may be most competitive but Euro 2012 football is a treat."

    Matt Cartwright on Twitter: "Portugal playing brilliantly so far. Spain just can't get going."

    Adam Bennett on Twitter: "This is an awesome game..."

  155. 2020:  

    Andres Iniesta looks to take the game to Portugal to provide some impetus to his team. He skips to the byline but the ball just goes out of play before he delivers his cross.

  156. 2018:   
    MOTD's Martin Keown in Donetsk:

    "This is great closing down by Portugal. Spain can't get the ball in to Xavi's feet and they are having to resort to a long ball which you don't see often. Up front for them, Alvaro Negredo's movement is non-existant."

  157. 2018:  

    After 25 minutes, Spain have had 56% possession, which is a way down on their previous games at Euro 2012. Xabi Alonso is the only player who is busier than Portugal's left-back Fabio Coentrao.

  158. 2018:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "This referee has been very, very officious so far. He's blowing up for every little foul or niggle. I hope it doesn't spoil the game."

  159. 2018:  

    Cristiano Ronaldo has another opening after the ball is stolen off a Spanish foot in midfield. Ronaldo's shot from the edge of the are is low but just the wrong side of the post.

  160. 2017:  

    Half an hour gone and Portugal can be very, very happy with their performance. Their workrate is phenomenal to keep winning the ball back and they are causing problems with the possession they have. Which team does that remind you of?

  161. 2016:  

    Referee Cuneyt Cakir is having a bit of a mare. Nani is away for Portugal but the official pulls it back for a foul on the winger. Advantage? It would appear not.

  162. 2015:  

    Spain haven't been good but such is their talent they can open you up in a heartbeat. They do so to provide Andres Iniesta with a sight of goal from the edge of the area, but his curling effort is a yard over the bar.


    Sarah Morgan on Twitter: "Great to see Portugal proving a match for Spain. Hope make Spain pay for lazy arrogance by getting their ticket to final!"

    Colin Anderson on Twitter: "Note to all the sides who wanted to play dull, defensive football against better sides: Portugal‬ are teaching you. Attack is the best defence‬."

    Richard Daniels on Twitter: "How many passes does it take before a Spaniard can score? One more, as always."

  164. 2014:  

    Is that handball from Sergio Ramos in the box? Portugal think so. The defender misjudges his clearing header from a Cristiano Ronaldo ball into the box and has to dive low to head. Portugal think he handles but replays show it was a combination of head and chest.

  165. 2012:  

    Another Spanish pass goes astray as Gerard Pique gives it away. It leads to another Portugal attack, which Nani leads, but which ultimately breaks down when a cross from the right is cut out by Pique, making amends for his initial error.

  166. 2010:   
    MOTD's Martin Keown in Donetsk:

    "I hope Roy Hodgson is watching. Both of these sides are giving England a lesson in shape and tempo."

  167. 2010:  

    Spain are frustrated. It is clear to see. Vicente del Bosque comes off the bench to demonstrate his ire as Fabio Coentrao is fouled near the touchline. From the free-kick, Portugal create an opening for Cristiano Ronaldo on the edge of the box but his shot is not one of his best and flies over the bar. It all adds up to one thing, though: Portugal are on top and Spain do not like it one bit.

  168. 2008:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Rui Patricio has not really had a save to make. Spain are playing with a higher tempo than I've seen before, and at times they've forced the issue and given away one or two stray passes high up the pitch."

  169. 2008:  

    Spain try to play their way into the game with a typically patient period of possession. It breaks down, though, as a poorly hit pass sees David Silva's attempt to control with a header go out of play. Portugal's workrate to bring about the error was really impressive.

  170. 2006:  

    It is not quite working for Spain. They are looking for openings but are unable to find a final ball. Portugal cut out another move and set off at pace before surely being fouled by Sergio Ramos. Surprisngly, the referee says no, though.

  171. 2005:   
    MOTD's Martin Keown in Donetsk:

    "Ronaldo has definitely got Spain worried. They don't want to dive in on him. This is a proper contest though."

  172. 2004:  

    Spain are on the back foot. Italy tested them in the first game, but this is as worried as I've seen them at Euro 2012. It all stems from Ronaldo. When he has the ball, panic ensues among the holders' defence.

  173. 2003:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Ronaldo is going to be the key. We knew that from the very start. If they can get him on the ball, get him running at the defence with pace then he could be really dangerous."


    Alex in Liverpool on text: "Iniesta and Xavi are quality players but for me Xabi Alonso has marshalled this side and been the best player of the tournament by far."

    Chris from Kent on text: "Is it just me or are Spain looking a lot more hurried than usual? They seem to be making a few sloppy passes which is incredibly unusual. Portugal seem to be pressing a lot and Spain look unnerved as a result. Very interesting compared to the very confident teams that Spain usually produce..."

  175. 2003:  

    The volume rises in the stadium but Ronaldo strikes the free-kick straight into the wall. Big let down. But Ronaldo has definitely got Spain worried.

  176. 2002:  

    Ronaldo has the ball again, and two Spanish defenders converge to fell him and give Portugal a free-kick on the left side of the box. Ronaldo will take it...

  177. 2000:  

    Now we see our first sign of Ronaldo as Miguel Veloso's interception allows him to unleash the winger down the left. He motors at speed before digging out a cross into the centre, where Nani is lurking but cannot make contact as Iker Casillas is out quickly to claim. You could sense the expectation/fear (depending on who they're backing) amongst the crowd as Ronaldo set off there.

  178. 1958:  

    Not much of an atmosphere in the stadium, it has to be said. A few empty seats visible as well.

  179. 1957:  

    No sign of Ronaldo in the game yet. He has spent much of the first 10 minutes out wide left. Portugal need the ball to get him into the action, though, and at the moment it is all Spain.


    Andrew Lyon on Twitter: "Spain have looked pedestrian all tournament, don't understand why everyone thinks they are so amazing still."

    Connor Sharp on Twitter: "Got a feeling Portugal are going to sneak this. More solid at the back, with better attacking wingers."

  181. 1956:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Great opportunity for Spain. Arbeloa side-footed the ball and just couldn't get his chest over the shot to keep it down. He leant back and blazed over, but that is the first time have played their tippy-tappy stuff."

  182. 1956:  

    Now Spain are settling. They are seeing more of the ball. And they create the first real chance of the game. The move comes down the left and ends with a shot from Alvaro Arbeloa from the edge of the box that flies over the bar. Soon after, Andres Iniesta has a pop from further out, but his effort is even higher that the first.

  183. 1953:   
    MOTD's Martin Keown in Donetsk:

    "Portugal have started well, and they are looking to hit big diagonal balls out to their wingers at every opportunity. Nani and Ronaldo offer them so much width."

  184. 1952:  

    Jordi Alba has spent a lot of time in the opponent's half this tournament and the Spanish full-back almost creates his side's first chance with a cross from the left. A Portuguese defender does well to block, though.

  185. 1951:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Already you're seeing the two Spanish full-backs push very high up the pitch, and that is going to be a test. Can they continue to do that? This game's not settled yet - it's scrappy."

  186. 1951:  

    Portugal's plan will be to knock Spain out of their normal rhythm. The game is only five minutes old, but they've managed to do just that.

  187. 1950:  

    Spain have started slowly. Portugal have had most of the possession and drawn a couple of fouls out of the Spanish to keep hold of the ball.

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer

    "Backed Spain from start of Euro 2012 so can't change now - but would love Ronaldo and Portugal to really put them to the test."

  189. 1948:  

    Iker Casillas has to back-peddle to tip the corner behind for a second set-piece. The Spanish keeper does better second time around by coming off his line to claim. Still, positive start from Portugal.

  190. 1947:  

    The first touch for Hugo Almeida, from a Fabio Coentrao, is nipped off his feet by Sergio Ramos. Soon after we have our first shot as Miguel Veloso winds up but sees his effort strike a Spain man and go behind for a corner...

  191. 1946:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "It's a little disappointing that there are far too many empty seats. As we know, travelling here is mighty difficult. Getting in and out of Donetsk isn't easy, as well as the expense. A lot of people we've bumped into around town have said they've struggled to find hotels. Unfortunately that's maybe pushed people away as they've decided to stay at home and watch it on TV."

  192. 1945:  
    KICK-OFF Portugal v Spain (19:45 BST)
  193. 1944:  

    Here we go. Spain v Portugal for a place in the final of Euro 2012.


    Janan Farjo on Twitter: "Viva Ronaldo! If he helps Portugal to the final tonight, I'd put my money on him for the Ballon D'Or for this year."

    Craig on Twitter: "Would be nice to see this so-called 'amazing' Spain team use their undoubted skill in a sexy way and create and score some goals."

    Ayodeji Adeyemi on Twitter: "Forget Cristiano Ronaldo! David Silva will be the joker tonight..."

  195. 1943:  

    Here is a new addition to the pre-match build-up. The two team captains are reading out statements calling for respect from fans towards each other's diversity.

  196. 1942:  

    The Portguguese national anthem confirmed one thing: Cristiano Ronaldo may be brilliant at football, but he can't sing. Still, what he lacked in tune he made up for with gusto.

  197. 1938:  

    Interesting predictions from the MOTD pundits in the studio. Lee Dixon and Alan Hansen have both gone for a Portugal win tonight. We're going to find out if they are right soon. The players are in the tunnel.

  198. 1935:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Spain for me have problems in that gap between the centre-halves and the full-backs. Pique does not like to be turned and to face his own goal, and neither does Ramos. There are gaps to be exploited from the likes of Nani and Ronaldo running into those areas."

  199. 1935:   
    MOTD's Alan Hansen in Donetsk:

    "Ronaldo has got two fantastic feet, he's got pace, strength, he's brilliant in the air and he scores goals for fun. What a combination. If you can get the ball to him quickly the defence is in big, big trouble. You see it time and time again."


    Julian in Portsmouth on text: "A lot of people are questioning Negredo which is ridiculous considering he has over a hundred goals over the past three seasons."

    Mich on text: "Dulux should sponsor the Spanish national side because watching Spain is like watching paint dry."

  201. 1934:   
    Martin Keown on BBC Radio 5 live

    "Ronaldo has grown in stature. Against the Dutch he showed a great deal of composure. He's a giant really, and has such upper body strength. He moves so quickly and he reproduces lung-busting runs, and you can't even switch off from him in the air."

  202. 1932:  

    As far as semi-final records go for each of these sides, here is the lowdown...

    Spain have played three, won three: 1964 Hungary 2-1, 1984 Denmark 1-1 (aet, 5-4 pens) and 2008 Russia 3-0. Adding Spain's 2010 World Cup semi-final victory, they have never lost at this stage.

    Portugal's semi-final record is won one, lost two: 1984 France 2-3 (aet), 2000 France 1-2 (aet) and 2004 Netherlands 2-1. Portugal also lost World Cup semi-finals in 1966 and 2006.


    Saqueeb Rajan on Twitter: "If Portugal get the game started they should savour that rare moment of possession."

    Adam J on Twitter: "For your national team you are there to contribute in whatever way you can, as a starter or sub. Cesc and Nando know this."

    Neal Collins on Twitter: "Everyone's raving about him but my Granny is better than Nani. Ronaldo left to carry the can for Portugal."

  204. 1928:   
    MOTD's Alan Shearer in Donetsk:

    "It's no good sitting here saying we will win the World Cup in two years' time. We will not. We have got to get out of the habit of going to tournaments thinking we can win it. We need a change in culture and to be fair to the FA they are trying to change things now. Our league is the best in the world for entertainment but only because it is full of foreigners."

  205. 1926:   
    MOTD's Alan Shearer in Donetsk:

    "I don't go along with the idea that England go home with their heads held high. I don't attach any blame to Roy Hodgson but if you just want 11 men to go out and work hard, I can find you 11 men from Newcastle city centre who will work their socks off.

    "We are a million miles away from the top sides. Heads held high? Do you think France will go home to that reception?"

  206. 1926:  

    Alan Shearer is taking no prisoners on his assessment of England at Euro 2012. Here's what he had to say just a few minutes ago on Match of the Day...

  207. 1924:  

    Spain's surprise striker selection has stolen the team news headlines somewhat, but Portugal have their own front-man hoping to make the most of his inclusion, albeit because of injury to a colleague.

    "I've worked a lot to be called to the starting lineup and I'll take this opportunity," said Hugo Almeida, who plays in place of Helder Postiga. "I want to show my very best, that's logical. I've always been motivated, like all 23 players in the squad. We were the ones chosen and all of us want to play. Of course, I was a little sad not to be in starting lineup, but it's all about work. When your opportunity comes, you have to be at your very best to help your team on the pitch."

  208. 1922:   
    Martin Keown on BBC Radio 5 live

    "Portugal's wide players may be a problem for Spain. The other problem I feel for Spain is having all that lovely passing but missing a cutting edge. You wonder sometimes whether they're trying to accommodate many great players who are not capturing their form from club level. They're not a fluid as we've seen in the years gone by. If they don't get it right Ronaldo will punish them."

  209. 1922:  

    Spain's Alvaro Arbeloa is taking a hard line on all the potential pallyness between the two sides tonight. "For today, I'll have no friends in the Portuguese dressing room," Arbeloa told "I won't speak to Fabio [Coentrao], Cristiano [Ronaldo] or Pepe until the game is finished. On the pitch we'll be sporting enemies, not friends, until it's all over."

  210. 1917:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Tiki-taka is incredible to watch. Spain regain possession so quickly and then keep the ball for so long. The work rate and fitness required is incredible. To have the technical ability, to have the ball in such close spaces, is also fantastic. For the football purists Spain are fantastic to watch. You do feel that if they really went for it they could cut teams apart and score three or four goals."

  211. 1916:  

    There are other team ties beyond Real Madrid and Barcelona, though… Ricardo Costa and Jordi Alba are team-mates at Valencia and will be joined next season by Joao Pereira; Joao Moutinho and Rolando, plus substitute Silvestre Varela, featured in Porto's 2-0 Super Cup defeat by Barcelona in Monaco last August; Rui Patricio and Joao Pereira's Sporting lost to Athletic Bilbao in the 2011/12 Europa League semi-finals, with Fernando Llorente scoring Bilbao's winning goal and Javi Martinez also featuring for Athletic; Portugal coach Paulo Bento played at Real Oviedo between 1996 and 2000 and won his first international cap against Spain. I could go on.

  212. 1914:   
    MOTD's Alan Shearer in Donetsk:

    "Negredo is the big surprise for us. They went in with no centre forward against Italy and France but their game won't change too much. They will dominate midfield and pass, pass, pass."

  213. 1913:   
    MOTD's Alan Hansen in Donetsk:

    "Torres has struggled in the tournament. He's struggled latterly at Liverpool and throughout his Chelsea career. It's no real surprise that he's been left out but I genuinely think they look a better side with a centre forward."

  214. 1913:  
    Portugal v Spain (19:45 BST)

    Just the one change for Spain, with Seville striker Alvaro Negredo coming into the side for Cesc Fabregas as Vicente del Bosque ditches his much criticised "false-nine" formation in favour of a recognised striker. Negredo has played one minute of Euro 2012 until now. A penny for your thoughts Mr Torres?

    Portugal also make one change. Former Tottenham striker Helder Postiga is out injured and so Besiktas striker Hugo Almeida starts.

  215. 1912:  
    LINE-UPS Portugal v Spain (19:45 BST)

    Portugal: Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao, Meireles, Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Nani, Almeida, Ronaldo. Subs: Eduardo, Custodio, Quaresma, Nelson Oliveira, Ricardo Costa, Rolando, Ruben Micael, Varela, Miguel Lopes, Hugo Viana, Postiga, Beto.

    Spain: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Silva, Negredo, Iniesta. Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Pedro, Torres, Fabregas, Mata, Llorente, Santi Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Reina.

    Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)


    Charles Egar on Twitter: "Juan Mata scored 12 goals and assisted about 24 times for the European champs but has yet to feature in Euro2012. So sad."

    Akinpelu Kayode on Twitter: "Can't understand why Del Bosque keeps toying with Fabregas and Torres' confidence. Negredo? Llorente must be boiling."‪

    K Fresh on Twitter: "Ramos will have to bring his A-game in tackling technique to be able to deactivate Robotnaldo."

  217. 1911:  

    In addition, Spain have five Barcelona players - Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas - Making this something of a mini-Clasico. That is if the Barca and Real players lined up playground style and took turns picking sides.

  218. 1910:  

    There can't be many teams in international football whose players are quite as familiar with each other as these two tonight. Ronaldo is one of eight Real Madrid players who are members of the squads of Spain and Portugal. Ronaldo will lead Portugal's Pepe and Fabio Coentrao out against Real team-mates Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa (with Raul Albiol on the bench), who are representing Spain in Donetsk.

  219. 1908:   
    MOTD's Lee Dixon in Donetsk:

    "Spain work harder than any team at winning the ball back. Portugal have pace on the wings and can surprise Spain out wide, which is Spain's weakness. Their full backs are the weak link."

  220. 1907:  

    According to Opta, Spain have completed 2,623 passes at Euro 2012, more than twice as many as Portugal (1,159). Xavi has made more completed passes at Euro 2012 (734) than any other player at a European Championship. He broke the record for passes in a single game against the Republic of Ireland (133). Vicente del Bosque's team made 672 completed passes to Italy's 341, 810 to Ireland's 198, 639 to Croatia's 231 and 638 to France's 429. Spain have had over 50% possession in 20 of their last 21 games at major final tournaments, the exception being the Euro 2008 final against Germany (46%). Boring. Maybe. Brilliant. Undoubtedly.

  221. 1906:   
    MOTD's Alan Hansen in Donetsk:

    "If you look at the quality of players on display, it's exceptional. The Spanish are arguably the best the world has ever seen in terms of keeping possession. Portugal are a good side but I hope they don't play like they did against Germany and get men behind the ball and leave Cristiano Ronaldo isolated."

  222. 1905:   
    John Murray, BBC commentator on Radio 5 live

    "Spain haven't really got us off our seats yet. Think of the thrilling way they won fours years ago in Austria and Switzerland, with that brilliant winning goal from Fernando Torres. Then there was the World Cup two years ago. They've paid their football here but they haven't excited us in the way that Germany have.

    "In Donetsk they very quietly put France out of their misery in almost a humdrum game of football to watch. I just hope tonight that the opposition of Portugal, with Ronaldo, can lift them to the heights."


    Kamran in Plymouth on text: "Del Bosque has their Euro 2008 hero Torres, an on-fire Llorente and technically gifted Fabregas to chose from and he picks Negredo? Is he insane? Negredo has a lot to prove tonight."

    Dan from Bedford on text: "Hoping for Portugal to win tonight, 3-2, with a Ronaldo hat-trick!"

  224. 1905:  

    Spain are a fantastic side. We all agree on that. But there is a small faction who are growing in number voicing discontent at the Spanish. Their charge is that they are brilliant but boring. It is an accusation that was put to Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta in a recent press conference.

    "Football is great for this reason, that people don't always like the same thing, don't agree on everything, that's the diversity of opinions," he replied. "When a team wants to attack and comes up against an opponent that sits back and tries to close the space and not try to create its own chances, that's not always the football you want to watch. It's easy to forget that only a few years ago this style is what changed the story of Spain."

  225. 1901:   
    Mark Pougatch in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "People here in Donetsk and at the Euros feel that actually Portugal have a chance. Let's be honest, that's because Ronaldo has run into form. He's scored three goals in the last two games and he knows so many players in the Spain team who he plays with at Real Madrid or he plays against at Barcelona. If Portugal are to get through Ronaldo will have to be at his best. We have fingers crossed that we're here for a terrific match."

  226. 1900:  

    Spain know what they need to do to give them a decent chance of success, but what do Portugal have to do to combat the many, many qualities that Spain bring to the table? "We have ambition and courage. We know what we have to do," said Portugal coach Paulo Bento. "We have to put pressure on our opponents and our aim is not to defend all the time. We won't do that against the world and European champions.

    "There are some points in their game that are not so stable. They had some problems against Italy and Croatia, even in the quarterfinal against France, they didn't create too many clear chances. But we're not inspired by what the others did against Spain, but what we did against other teams. We have our own identity."

  227. 1858:   
    Danny Mills in Donetsk for BBC Radio 5 live

    "This should be a really good game. There's been criticism laid at the Spanish for being a touch boring or predictable. Plus, Portugal have Ronaldo, though they're trying to play down that it's all about him.

    "If he plays well Portugal have a chance to win this game. So far he's had a ludicrous amount of shots and he's almost taken teams on single-handed. He wants to be the main man, and rightly so - he's their big star. It will be interesting to see how the Spanish defence cope with Ronaldo and Nani. They have been weak at the back, I think."

  228. 1858:  

    Ronaldo is so good that Spain coach Vincente del Bosque appears to have convinced himself that the winger is in fact a robot. "We have to try to deactivate him," explained del Bosque. "He's an excellent player and it's logical that there's so much talk about him. We knew how to play against him and how to stop him and we'll try the same tomorrow." So I'm guessing Spain will need to lower Ronaldo into molten steel like in Terminator 2?

  229. 1854:  

    Ronaldo is approaching a few milestones, which he could surpass tonight. He needs just one more to equal the record for European Championship goals of 22 (including qualifying)currently shared by Turkey's Hakan Sukur and Denmark's Jon Dahl Tomasson. He also needs just one more to reach seven in Euros finals, which would take him above Nuno Gomes' six to make him outright Portuguese top-scorer in the Championships. It would also take him level with England's Alan Shearer with seven - two behind outright top-scorer Michel Platini of France.


    Sam Lloyd on Twitter: "Bet Torres is spitting. Exactly the type of game he should be starting."

    Rory McNeelance on Twitter: "What has Fernando Llorente got to do to get a game?"

    Willhimpe on Twitter: "Quite ridiculous that Juan Mata hasn't played once. He had a storming season for the Blues and is surely better than Alba."

  231. 1850:  

    It may not seem like it, but there are actually other Portuguese players as well as Ronaldo taking part in this game. At least 10 to be precise. It may not be in vogue at the moment to say this, but Portugal are actually more than CR7. Think Moutinho, think Pepe, think Coentrao. These are highly-talented players. And being not quite as good at football as Ronaldo is no crime. There is only one man in world not guilty of this.

    Gary Lineker, MOTD presenter

    "Very promising. Spain are playing with a striker. Not Torres but Negredo. Six goals in 11 internationals in which Spain have won all of them."

  233. 1845:  

    You'd think Ronaldo might be feeling a bit of pressure ahead of this game, especially as it would seem he is expected to win it on his own. But Cristiano laughs in the face of pressure. OK, maybe not laughs, but he mockingly pouts. "These games are part of my life," said Ronaldo. "I have to be used to them. Responsibility yes, pressure no."


    Nathan Breeze on Twitter: "Llorente must be wondering who else Del Bosque is going to pick ahead of him. Reina?"

  235. 1840:  

    The Ronaldo is Portugal bandwagon is pretty much operating at full capacity ever since his two goals against the Netherlands. It is something of an understatement now to state that Cristiano is flourishing in Paulo Bento's Portugal side. European football expert Andy Brassell goes beyond this simple premise to investigate the hows and whys. "The mood in the [Portugal] camp has been upbeat," says Brassell. "Ronaldo is at the centre of it all, not just for his fame and skill but because of his bubbly demeanour and his incredible commitment to every training session."

  236. 1836:  

    Spain have played their attacking wildcard, but there is no mystery about where the forward-thinking flair for Portugal is coming from. Mr Cristiano Keith* Ronaldo.

    *I'm guessing.

  237. 1833:  

    So, Negredo starts for Spain. The 26-year-old scored 13 times in 36 appearances last season for Sevilla and has six international goals in nine caps. He rejected a £12m switch to Hull in the summer of 2009. That worked out pretty well for him.


    Andrew James Milton on Twitter: "Mixed feelings in Catalonia. There's usually a great anti-Spain sentiment but faced with Ronaldo and Pepe they don't know who to support."

    Will Taylor on Twitter: "Nani and Moutinho can leave the training wheels at home tonight. This is the big stage, it's time to perform and share the burden."

    Keith McCormack on Twitter: "Looking forward to tonight. Ronaldo and Nani high up the pitch might make the Spain passing more difficult. 4-3 aet."

  239. 1829:  
    BREAKING TEAM NEWS Portugal v Spain (19:45 BST)

    Spain are starting with a recognised striker. It is probably not the striker you expect, though. Sevilla's Alvaro Negredo starts.

  240. 1829:  

    Spain will set a new record of 11 European Championship finals matches unbeaten if they avoid defeat tonight. But... their last loss in the competition was the 1-0 defeat by Portugal at Euro 2004. Plus, they have also lost four of 14 friendlies since the 2010 World Cup, including to England. Yes, to England. See Portugal, I told you there was nothing to get upset about.


    Dean in Stoneleigh on text: "Looking forward to seeing Spain absolutely tear the Portugal side apart to silence these critics. Spain's midfield will frustrate Ronaldo and will stretch Portugal."

    Tim on a muggy train on text: "The weak Czech attack flattered Portugal. Their defence and especially keeper look vulnerable. Spain to win 2-1."

  242. 1825:  

    Form is temporary, class is permanent, they say. It's not a saying that gets much air-time in Spain at the moment. They have lost only three of their last 47 competitive European Championship and World Cup fixtures and won 41 of them. They are 18 competitive games without defeat, since their 1-0 loss to Switzerland at the 2010 World Cup, which, of course, they ended up winning. No, Portugal, don't cry...

  243. 1820:  

    Portugal and Spain have faced each other once more since then, a friendly match in November, 2010. The score? Portugal 4-0 Spain.

    Gary Lineker, MOTD presenter

    "A few reasons to watch tonight: Iniesta, Ronaldo, Xavi, Moutinho, Silva, Nani, Fabregas... and so on. Spain/Portugal BBC1 and BBCHD at 7..."

  245. 1815:  

    In their last tournament meeting, Portugal lost 1-0 to Spain in the second round of the World Cup two years ago, with David Villa scoring the goal. Unlike Euro 2004, that tournament did end well for Spain, you may remember.


    Elliott Husband on Twitter: "Spain got a scare against Italy and were as good as they needed to be against Croatia. Spain to step up their game and win 2-0."

    Dan Keen on Twitter: "Spain with the most comfortable 2-1 win ever tonight."

    Goldstone on Twitter: "Portugal 2 - 1 Spain.. Ronaldo looks on fire!"

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer

    "In Warsaw for Euro 2012 semi-final between Germany & Italy - but great anticipation to see if Ronaldo can inspire Portugal to a win v Spain."

  248. 1815:  

    But what of the meetings in major tournaments between these two? For that is the arena that really matters. Well, they drew 1-1 in the group stage at Euro 1984, with Antonio Sousa scoring for Portugal before Santillana equalised for Spain.

    In Euro 2004, Nuno Gomes' solitary goal sent Portugal through from Group A and knocked Spain out of the tournament. It didn't end well for the Portuguese on home turf, but it all looked bright and rosy at that point.

  249. 1806:  

    The first meeting between these two was a Spanish 3-1 win in Madrid in December 1921. Portugal failed to win the first 15 encounters, eventually breaking their duck in 1948.

    However, over the last half a century the Portuguese have proven to be more than awkward opponents for their Iberian neighbours. Portugal have lost just twice to Spain in 54 years.

    But to swing this back in Spain's favour, all of Portugal's six victories over Spain have come on home soil.


    Felix Tran on Twitter: "Best player in the world vs best team in the world. Can there be a better headliner for an international match?!"

    I fear Felix you may have just awoken the Messi brigade. Be gentle on him Lionel-lovers.

  251. 1759:  

    Ah the past. Is there a better way of being able to know with utter certainty what is going to happen in the present than to look at what has happened before? Yes. Yes, there is. But we can still look at the past and say things like "that's interesting", "well I had no idea" and "who is Frank Strandli?".

    With regard to Spain v Portugal, the past tells us that the former has the superior record overall. Of the 34 matches between the two, Spain have won 15 of them and lost seven.

  252. 1755:  

    European football writer Andy Brassell on BBC Radio 5 live: "Ronaldo has only played three times against Spain and he's never scored. He almost scored a fantastic goal the last time the two sides met in a friendly in November 2010 in Lisbon; he dribbled past a couple of players, chipped the goalkeeper and it was going in anyway before Nani headed it in on the line from an offside position. It got chalked off and he went absolutely nuts! They won 4-0 in the end anyway."

  253. 1754:  

    European football writer Andy Brassell on BBC Radio 5 live: "Ronaldo has hit form just at the right time. A Spanish newspaper, Marca, says the thing we've all learned this season is that when Cristiano gets on a run he's absolutely unstoppable. There's a degree of trepidation, even in Spain don't rate the Portugal team as a whole.

    "The fact that Carles Puyol is absent for Spain does mean there will be a great battle between Ronaldo and his club team-mate Sergio Ramos."


    OAM Ibrahim on Twitter: "Portugal are an average team. CR7 overhyped and easily put out of the game. Spain to easily go through, no doubt"

    Sam Parker on Twitter: "Spain will keep so much possession that Ronaldo will be useless. He needs the ball, and is not known for gritty performances."

  255. 1752:  

    European football writer Andy Brassell on BBC Radio 5 live: "Portugal look to Ronaldo to be their leader. They're very proud and pleased that they've got the best player in the world in their ranks. He's happy to do that. In every training session he gives everything he's got, and he's a great captain in that sense."

  256. 1752:  

    Portugal finished runners-up in Group B, behind fellow semi-finalists Germany. Their subsequent win over the Czech Republic in the last eight was eye-raising only because their utter dominance did not return more than just a 1-0 win. Blame Cristiano Ronaldo for that. He was too slow to get on the end of his own crosses following his mazy runs from his own byline.

  257. 1746:  

    So how did these two Iberian rivals reach this stage of the competition? Well, the Spanish did what was expected of them by topping Group C, despite being held in their first game by Italy. They followed this up by casually flicking aside one of the tournament's fancied sides - France - in the quarter-finals. At least I think it was France. It looked like them. Or at least a shadow of them.

  258. 1741:   
    John Murray, BBC commentator on Radio 5 live

    "With this game tonight and Germany v Italy in Warsaw tomorrow, I think we've got the best four teams in the tournament in the quarter-finals."


    Ross Norris on Twitter: "Spain to win 2-0 tonight. Portugal won't get the ball and when they do Spain will have enough to deal with Ronaldo and Nani."

    Vos on Twitter: "If Portugal can play normal football without being aggressive then they can be a big threat to Spain..."

  260. 1740:  

    OK, as far as this text commentary is concerned, England's woes have been put to bed. I'm going to return to the matter at hand, namely Spain v Portugal in Donetsk. Match of the Day's Steve Wilson is there for the BBC. He reports: "The sense of occasion is palpable, as is the sense that Donetsk, situated right on the eastern fringes of Europe, has arrived on European football's centre stage."


    Sammy Nnaji "I have a feeling these Barcelona boys will lose another semi final tonight!"

    Eli Richards on Twitter: "who can choose to support any of these 4 old foes? Just hope for attacking, goal-packed thrillers! "

  262. 1734:   
    John Murray, BBC commentator on BBC Radio 5 live

    "Ronaldo is getting better and better. Not only did he score in the quarter-finals against the Czech Republic to get through but he also scored two in the game before, the pivotal group match that they had against Holland - that was one of the best matches of the tournament.

    "If everything had gone his way he could have had hat-tricks in those last two games. He is on the verge of this becoming his tournament, but what a challenge this is for Portugal tonight."

  263. 1734:  

    Last entry about England. Promise. It is a forward-looking one as well.

    So, where do England go from here? Well, Hodgson thinks the country should be optimistic. After all, England didn't technically lose once during Euro 2012. But the root of the problem is clearly deeper than just what we saw during this summer. If you want to read more, I suggest you check out the pieces by our chief football writer Phil McNulty and football writer Ben Smith,.

    In the meantime... er... tennis anyone?


    Carl in Cambridgeshire on text: "Worst England team in at least a decade and we didn't lose. Lots to work with and build on for the World Cup qualifiers..."

    Rosh in London on text: "Ronaldo can't do it on his own - Spain to give them the run-around, 2-0, and Silva to score."

  265. 1727:  

    Putting his hair to one side for the moment (not literally, that's what separates a transplant from a wig), Wayne Rooney's performance against Italy has come in for some criticism. After seeing him struggle to make any impact against Italy, it was put to Roy Hodgson that Rooney may not have been fit.

    "We haven't noticed any problems with Wayne's fitness levels. We've monitored it in training and he's looked very fit," replied the England boss. "His running stats in the training sessions and in the game were actually very good."

    I'm not surprised his running stats were good, the amount of blind alleys he ran down. His possession stats on the other hand... no, it's best you don't look.


    Daniel Hockings on Twitter: "Ronaldo's insistence on everything going through him is Portugal's and Ronaldo's biggest problem - it is a team Cristiano!"

  267. 1721:  

    England's tormentor in chief on Sunday was Italian playmaker Andrea Pirlo, who barely seemed to break sweat during a largely 120-minute domination of Roy Hodgson's heavily-packed midfield. He is probably a good man to analyse where England went wrong.

    "I think England played in a very prudent and careful way," he said. "They were sitting back for the match like Chelsea did in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich." Just goes to show that the only thing separating brave heroes from clueless ineptitude is a couple of better-placed penalties.

  268. 1715:  

    If ever a two-day break from a tournament was needed by the inhabitants of a country, it was Monday and Tuesday in England this week. The post-mortem of England's 0-0 hammering by Italy began the minute that Alessandro Diamanti tucked away his decisive penalty and continues to rumble on with no unanimous decision on who or what is to blame.

    Be it tactics, grassroots or Rooney's hair, the one cast iron fact we know is that England were not good enough to pass the last eight of Euro 2012. It wasn't the only thing they failed to pass in Kiev.


    Crip Crooke on Twitter: "Portugal won't have a lot of possession tonight so they can't afford to be spurning opportunities. Nani has a lot to prove."

  270. 1710:  

    So what do you think about tonight? The England fans amongst you have had two football-free days to digest the horror of Sunday and get back in the mood. To whom are you reappropriating your support in the tournament and what tentative reasons are you giving for your half-hearted backing? And what of the mechanics of tonight's game itself? Will Spain tiki-taka their way to a third successive final, or will Portugal upset the odds? And what of this Spain v Ronaldo theory - factual analysis or media-friendly fiction? You can tweet us using the hashtag #bbcfootball or text us on 81111 (UK). Be sure to stick your name on the texts, though.

  271. 1705:  

    Yes, tonight Donetsk hosts its very own Iberian encounter as Spain take on Portugal for a place in the final of Euro 2012.

    It's the world number one v the world number 10, the holders v the hopefuls, Del Bosque v Bento, or, as most would have you believe, Casillas, Pique, Ramos, Arbeloa, Alba, Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso, Busquets, Silva and Fabregas v Ronaldo.

  272. 1700:  

    In 1976, Germany (then West Germany) beat Yugoslavia 4-2 in Belgrade in the semi-final of the European Championships to reach their third successive major international tournament final.

    Now, 36 years later, for the first time a side is in the position to emulate this stunning achievement and further cement their reputation as one of international football's great sides.

    Standing in their way is their neighbours and fierce rivals, built around the brilliance of a unique attacking talent and fuelled by eight years of Euros hurt after a shock final defeat on home soil in 2004.

    It is Spain v Portugal and it is just two hours and 45 minutes away. Excited? You should be.

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