Euro 2012: Cesc Fabregas reveals Spain penalty secret
Cesc Fabregas has revealed he spoke to the ball and told it to "make history" before striking the penalty that took Spain into Sunday's Euro 2012 final.
The Barcelona midfielder scored the decisive fifth spot-kick as the defending world and European champions stayed on course for an unprecedented third successive tournament victory.
Cesc Fabregas Spain and Barcelona midfielder
“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. ”
Fabregas had also scored the winning penalty when Spain beat Italy in a quarter-final shootout at Euro 2008.
"We had to make history," he said.
"I had a funny feeling about the penalties and I was thinking about them this afternoon.
"They told me initially 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.
"I talked to the ball four years ago [when he scored the winning penalty against Italy] and it didn't let me down."
After scraping past Portugal 4-2, Fabregas said he did not have any preference about who Spain will meet in Sunday's final.
Germany play Italy in Thursday's second semi-final.
"I don't mind who we play. The most important thing is we are in the final. Whoever goes through it will be tough," added Fabregas, who was left out of the starting line-up against Portugal.
- Spain will play their fourth European Championship final on Sunday (1964, 1984, 2008 and 2012). They have lost just one (1984).
- Cesc Fabregas also scored the last penalty in the 4-2 victory over Italy in the quarter-final of Euro 2008.
- Wednesday's match was the first time since then that a Spain match had finished goalless.
"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."
Fabregas admitted he had not been satisfied with his own performance but said his country's victory was the only thing that mattered.
"I played poorly, but the team worked really hard," Fabregas added. "I had this intuition that we could advance if we went to penalties and that's what we did. Being in another final is a miracle. It's really incredible."
Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas admitted Spain's good fortune in prevailing after penalties.
"Yes, we really were lucky. Everything is about luck sometimes."