Portugal teammates Fábio Coentrão, left, and Cristiano Ronalbởi, right, leave the pitch following their penalty shootout loss to Spain in their Euro 2012 semifinal.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

To hold Spain scoreless for 1trăng tròn minutes is no easy feat. 

Unlike other teams who have sầu faced the triệu Euro 2008 và World Cup 2010 champions in recent history, Portugal did not sit back và defkết thúc with 10 men. This generally is suicidal against Spain—their mercurial midfield will always punish even the slighdemo of defensive mistakes. Once in the lead, Spain uses their unrivaled ability to keep possession to squeeze the remaining life from their frustrated opponents. 

But Spain couldn"t score. In fact, they couldn"t even really dominate—something we"ve sầu come lớn expect from them, regardless of the unique of the opposition.Bạn vẫn xem: trò chơi da bong penalty euro 2012

Portugal in many ways deserved lớn win the game tonight. They didn"t concede, they created a plethora of chances but, most importantly, they didn"t allow Spain time lớn dominate the midfield. Portuguese coach Paolo Benkhổng lồ really got his tactics right—his team went toe-to-toe with Spain. 

Unfortunately for Portugal, at times this isn"t enough. Spain is too talented a team to lớn be solely reliant on their midfield. To win, you have sầu khổng lồ score, & Spain defended beautifully tonight. Where Portugal is due credit, so is Spain, even if Portugal seemed lớn deserve sầu it more. 

Penalties it would be.

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Portugal players hang their heads as they make for the locker room following their defeat.Martin Rose/Getty Images

The goalkeepers each carried their clean sheets inlớn the second round of the shootout—both Xabi Alonso and João Moutinho had their penalties saved. 0-0.

Andrés Iniesta made no mistake, smashing his penalty past Rui Patrício. Pepe followed suit for Portugal. đối chọi.

Sergio Ramos stepped up and confidently produced a chip much like Andrea Pirlo"s just days before. Apparently, in triệu Euro 2012, if you chip a penalty up the middle, the next penalty taker will miss by hitting the crossbar. That"s just what happened, as Bruno Alves" penalty crashed off the crossbar. 3-2 Spain. 

Cesc Fábregas dispatched his penalty lớn a thunderous crowd roar & rapturous celebrations, and Spain advanced to the final, wining 4-2 on penalty kicks.

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What about Cristiano Ronaldo?

Immediately following the game, I got a text from a friend that read, "Why didn"t Ronalbởi vì shoot?" I explained lớn hyên that Spain mathematically sealed the victory, and it would be pointless for Ronalvì khổng lồ take his penalty. 

Penalty shootouts often kết thúc in one or both teams not having shot five penalties. If one team makes its first three shots, and the other fails lớn score any of those three, mathematically, four players will have sầu not taken their shots.

Influence on Probability

Penalty shootouts are a game of probabilities và percentages. Some reduce them to lớn a coin flip. Why, then, would you risk the probability of having your captain và star player not shoot?

I don"t lượt thích lớn place blame on a single person for a penalty shootout loss, but the reality is that Ronalbởi is a better penalty taker than Bruno Alves. Ronalvị should have sầu been first, second or third.

In a do-or-die situation, Portugal coach Paolo Benlớn got it wrong. Benlớn was naïve khổng lồ place Ronalbởi fifth in the pecking order. There is definitely a case to lớn be made for placing someone capable of handling the often critical fifth penalty kick. Still, though, that is easily outweighed by that player"s chance at not shooting at all. 

Coaching Inexperience

The decision for Ronalvị to shoot fifth is indicative sầu of an inexperienced manager. Benkhổng lồ is 43 years young.

Compare his tactics to lớn those of seasoned Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, who is 61. Del Bosque chose Xabi Alonso, Spain"s best penalty taker (he takes them during the games—we can assume he"s the best), as his first shooter. Sure, Alonso"s shot was saved, but again, penalty shootouts are unpredictable—anything can happen.