Portugal vs. Spain Euro 2012: 5 Most to Blame for Portugal's Penalty Collapse

Frank Wagner@Fw1812Correspondent IJune 27, 2012

Portugal vs. Spain Euro 2012: 5 Most to Blame for Portugal's Penalty Collapse

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    If you just witnessed that nerve-busting conclusion to the Portugal-Spain semifinal matchup, you know that there are some talking points from that penalty shootout.

    What were the thoughts behind Portugal's incredible decisions in the biggest moments of the match? Who made these decisions?

    Here are the five people most to blame for Portugal's penalty shootout loss to Spain.

    One thing is for sure: Rui Patricio, who made a very nice save on Xabi Alonso's first penalty, will not be on this list.

João Moutinho

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    Lost in the controversies of the later rounds is Moutinho's fairly tame first penalty, which was saved by Iker Casillas with some ease.

    After Xabi Alonso's miss on the first penalty, Moutinho's could have given Portugal a big psychological advantage.

    Instead, he killed all momentum and put it back to evens.

Nani

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    This is a tough one.

    It is unclear what happened on the pitch, but Nani either decided to take Bruno Alves's spot or Bruno Alves forgot the order.

    If it is the former, it was a poor decision on his part that borders on selfishness.

    If the latter, though, it is really on Alves.

    Still, maybe Nani should have let it go and had Alves take the kick instead of icing his teammate.

Bruno Alves

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    Did he really just forget the order of the kicks? Really? If so, that is one ridiculous mistake.

    If not, he had two options—not budge when Nani came in to take the kick, or tell his coach he's not ready to take the next one.

    Instead, he did neither.

    As to his actual kick, it's hard to criticize too much. He was inches from the perfect penalty.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Was he looking for the glory of the final kick? If so, this was clearly not the correct reasoning.

    If it was not his decision, but Bento's, he should have overruled his coach—or at least tried to—on the matter.

    What I don't want to hear, though, is that Ronaldo bottled it. From everything we know about Ronaldo and his arrogance, he was certainly chasing glory.  

    Unfortunately, he just did so in a very ill-advised manner.

Paulo Bento

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    No matter what comes out about the reasoning behind Portugal's decisions in the shootout, the buck stops with Paulo Bento.

    How could he not insist on Ronaldo taking the first kick? How could he let Alves return to the spot when he was clearly rattled by the moment?

    How could he not have brought on a substitute for the sole purpose of taking a penalty when the match was clearly going that direction? If you didn't notice, all four takers played all 90 minutes.

    It was some poor decision-making by the young Portuguese coach.

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