Portugal vs. Spain Highlights: Poor Penalty Shootout Selection Dooms Portugal

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IJune 28, 2012

DONETSK, UKRAINE - JUNE 27:  Pepe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Coentrao of Portugal look dejected during the UEFA EURO 2012 semi final match between Portugal and Spain at Donbass Arena on June 27, 2012 in Donetsk, Ukraine.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Martin Rose/Getty Images

Portugal's penalty shootout selection was quite poor in their semifinal match of Euro 2012, and it was the reason why they were knocked out of the tournament by Spain.

The giant mistake in manager Paulo Bento's selection for the shootout was the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo from the first four penalty takers.

The Real Madrid star is arguably the best player in world football and an excellent scorer from the penalty spot. He should have shot first or at least chosen to be one of the first three takers.

You cannot afford to lose this kind of match and see your European Championship hopes destroyed by not having your best players get the chance to perform in key situations such as penalties.

Here is the questionable order of selection by Bento.

Player Result Notes
Joao Moutinho SAVED Solid choice as Moutinho is one of Pourtgal's best players. He didn't take a bad penalty but Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas made a great save.
Pepe GOAL Interesting choice with centre-back Pepe, but to his credit he beat Casillas even though the Spaniard guessed the right direction.
Nani GOAL Portugal's second best attacking player took a marvelous penalty.
Bruno Alves SAVED Why would Bento have two centre-backs take a penalty before Ronaldo? Alves smacked his shot off the crossbar and the ball came right down but just outside the goal line.

Bento is not going to be welcomed well in Portugal. His side had a real chance to make the final and upset Spain. These are the kinds of poor decisions that cost managers their jobs, and we have seen coaches be fired for much less.

Do you think Argentina would have Lionel Messi not be one of their first penalty takers in a situation like this? No, of course not. The Netherlands would have Robin van Persie be one of their first few takers as well.

Ronaldo should have been the first man to shoot so he could set the tone for the shootout, but Bento strangely chose two defenders to step up to the spot before him.

His poor penalty selection was the reason why Portugal saw their Euro dreams crushed on Wednesday.