Espanyol duo Alvaro Vazquez and Jordi Amat missed key penalties as the Selecao go through after shoot-out
Spain fired a couple of warning shots at Gabriel in the Brazil goal early in the contest, but nothing to truly trouble the Cruzerio stopper, while at the other end, a cross from Oscar was in danger of finding Henrique, who started for the Selecao despite hobbling off in their last-16 tie.
It was the Sao Paulo player who played a part in the opening goal, firing a cross against the bar, which bounced kindly for his club teammate Willian, who couldn’t miss.
The goal acted as a shot in the arm for Spain. Seconds after the re-start, Cristian Tello fired in a shot from 30 yards, which Gabriel smothered at the second attempt with Rodrigo looming, before Oriol Romeu and Rodrigo himself forced great saves from the Brazil keeper.
Buoyed on by the half-time introduction of Sergi Roberto, Spain regrouped after the interval. Canales fired a powerful effort into the side-netting, before Rodrigo got his side a well-deserved equaliser, beating Bruno Uvini at the near post to head Hugo Mallo’s cross home.
Both sides pushed on in search of a winner, and with 10 minutes left on the clock, Julen Lopetegui threw on Espanyol’s Alvaro Vazquez, and the change almost paid dividends as full-time approached, but a vital intervention from Gabriel denied Spain’s top marksman a dramatic winner.
Cramp and fatigue started to creep into the game, but that didn’t stop Brazil from re-taking the lead with half-time in extra-time approaching approaching. Henrique played a beautifully timed pass into Dudu’s path, and the Cruzeiro striker made no mistake.
Sensationally, however, Spain equalised minutes after restarting the game. Planas sent a cross from the left towards Vazquez, and although the ball was slightly behind the Espanyol man, he was still able to steer the ball home.
The remaining 20 minutes failed to produce a winner ensuring the lottery of a penalty shoot-out was needed to separate the sides. Jordi Amat missed Spain’s opening penalty, and when Vazquez followed suit, Dudu netted his spot-kick to consign the Europeans to defeat.Follow Goal.com on to get the latest soccer news directly. Check out Goal.com's page; be part of the best soccer fan community in the world!