Spain are through to the final of Euro 2012 after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Portugal.
After 120 minutes had failed to separate the two sides, Joao Moutinho and Bruno Alves missed for Portugal, leaving Cesc Fabregas to hit the winning spot-kick for Spain.
Vicente del Bosque’s side will face either Germany or Italy, who meet on Thursday, on Sunday in Kiev with the chance to become the first team to win three consecutive major tournaments.
Del Bosque had sprung a surprise by leaving Fabregas and Fernando Torres on the bench and opting to hand Alvaro Negredo his first start of the tournament.
And the Sevilla man did little to justify his inclusion with an anonymous display as Spain struggled to play their usual fluid passing game in the opening half.
Portugal were working tirelessly to win back possession and Paulo Bento’s side were also effective on the ball, with the pace and trickery of their widemen Nani and Ronaldo causing problems for the Spanish full-backs Alvaro Arbeloa and Jordi Alba.
Indeed it was Portugal who looked the more likely to create the breakthrough and it was Ronaldo who went closest midway through the first half - the Real Madrid man finding space on the edge of the box but dragging his shot just wide of Iker Casillas’ left post.
Neither side registered a single shot on target in the first half and it took just seven minutes of the second period before Spain made the first change.
The disappointing Negredo was replaced by Fabregas as del Bosque opted to revert to his much debated – and much criticised - no-striker system.
David Silva also made way soon after for Jesus Navas and, with Portugal beginning to tire a little, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and Xabi Alonso began to see more of the ball.
It was Xavi who finally fashioned the game’s first shot on goal on 65 minutes - the Barcelona playmaker finding space through the middle and hitting a well-struck shot from 25 yards which Rui Patricio gleefuly held.
There was little action from then on, though, until the final minute when Ronaldo had a golden chance to send Portugal into the final.
That meant extra-time and Spain began to look more threatening but were twice thwarted by Patricio, the Portugal keeper denying Iniesta first from close range before keeping Navas’ low drive out.
And so it was left to the lottery of a penalty shoot-out. Alonso stepped up first and missed but Moutinho and Alves couldn't hold their nerve from 12 yards and Fabregas took his chance to become the hero again, having also struck the winning penalty in the Euro 2008 quarter-final victory over Italy.