Donetsk, Jun 28: Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said how Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas had asked him if he could 'take the winning one' after his final penalty kick sealed a place in the UEFA Euro 2012 final.
The semi-final clash between the defending champions Spain and Portugal had to be decided on penalties after both teams cancelled each other out for 120 minutes. Coach Del Bosque said Fabregas, who scored the crucial penalty to take Spain to the final, had specifically asked him to take the final penalty.
"Of course, all five penalty-takers offered to take the last one," the 61-year old said. "Cesc told me he wanted to take the fifth one to be able to take the winner; they all wanted to. Sergio Ramos knew that Rui Patrício would go to one side for all the penalties and that's why he decided to do what [Andrea] Pirlo did in the previous match," Del Bosque was quoted as saying in UEFA.com.
The former Real Madrid coach, however, praised the Portuguese side but said his side were 'lucky' in the penalty shoot-out.
"Portugal were superior when it came to defending. We didn't have that many opportunities, so it was very balanced. In extra time, it was slightly different, and then we had lots of luck in the penalty shoot-out. I want to congratulate Portugal because they played a great tournament, but we were lucky this time," Del Bosque said.
Del Bosque defended his decision to substitute midfield maestro Xavi Hernandez to inject pace with Jesus Navas and Pedro Rodrigues. He further praised his players for keeping their cool for 120 minutes.
"Xavi wasn't playing badly, he played very well, but he was tired and we wanted more pace on the pitch. Pedro [Rodriguez] and [Jesus] Navas were more active and provided more attacking strength. Xavi has had a great tournament," he said.
"We created more problems for Portugal after introducing those players. It was vital and the players are getting more mature in each match. Extra time proved they are very experienced," he added.
Del Bosque described the second semi-final as a 'top game' but was not concerned about their opponents in the final.
"The other semi-final will be a top game and whoever our opponents are, the final will be a great match. But we don't care who our opponents are," he said.