Alonso left relieved as fortune favors Spain

The midfielder has admitted that La Roja's semifinal against Portugal was a "very even game" and insisted that the squad must be proud of itself whatever happens in the final.
Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso was relieved to see fortune favor his country after it 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 shootout after a two-hour long stalemate. Despite Spain being tipped as the favorite 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 today [Wednesday], 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 that he would not let the miss affect him in Kiev.

"We're in another final now and that's a tremendous reward," he continued. "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 teammates fixed it."

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