Portugal vs. Spain Highlights: Mishandling of Cristiano Ronaldo Costs Portugal
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Portugal and Spain met in the semifinals of the 2012 European Championship. Strong defense and failed attacks led to the game being settled by penalties after a 0-0 end to regulation, where Portugal dropped the ball by not having Cristiano Ronaldo take a kick.
Ronaldo is clearly the strength of the Portuguese offense, but he failed to find the net in regulation. He had one free kick bounce off the wall and two others sail over the goal.
He had other opportunities, but missed the target.
Iker Casillas made one amazing save during regulation to help give Spain a chance to win with penalty kicks. While he deserves some credit, it was a complete failure by Portugal that handed Spain the win.
Needing a goal from their fourth penalty, Portugal left Ronaldo on the side of the pitch. Bruno Alves hit the cross bar and left Portugal exposed, down 3-2.
With a goal from Cesc Fábregas, Portugal won 4-2 on penalties.
It was surprising to see João Moutinho step up to take the first penalty. Rui Patricio made a nice save on Spain's initial try, giving Portugal the opportunity to take a 1-0 lead.
While there is some logic in leaving Ronaldo to attempt a winning strike, the smarter play was to put him on the spot first. The opportunity to take an early lead would have put pressure on Spain and could have been the tipping point in penalties.
Portugal certainly didn't earn a win in regulation, but they played well enough to win.
Coach Paulo Bento might have bent to pressure from Ronaldo to be left for later, but by doing so likely cost his team the win.
Not putting Ronaldo out for the first penalty was poor judgement. Keeping him away altogether during penalty kicks was inexcusable.
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