Casillas hails team for answering critics after their 4-2 win over Portugal

Jun 29, 2012, 07:47 IST | Agencies

Skipper Casillas hails team for answering critics with hard-fought victory over Portugal in semi-final

Spain captain Iker Casillas insists the team are united in their desire to reach as many finals as possible.

The reigning champions will face either Germany or Italy, in the Euro 2012 showpiece on Sunday after squeezing past Portugal on penalties. Spain’s style of retaining possession at all costs has been labelled boring by some critics, but Casillas is just happy to be in the position to win a third successive major tournament.

Thrilled: Spanish players celebrate their win over Portugal. PIC/Getty Images

“We’re fighting to go on reaching finals as we’ve done now,” said the Real Madrid goalkeeper. “This team have come together through a lot of hard work and faced criticism. What we want is to give people something to enjoy and from now until Sunday they will do. I don’t care who we play in the final — the important thing is that Spain are there.”

Coach Vicente del Bosque handed Alvaro Negredo a surprise start, but the Sevilla man was replaced by Cesc Fabregas early in the second half.

Fabregas and Fernando Torres have also been tried at the tip of the Spanish attack, but neither has convinced Del Bosque they must start.

Fabregas rifled home the match-winning penalty to nudge the World Cup holders into the final. Xabi Alonso had the first spot-kick saved by Rui Patricio but Casillas evened things up by saving the first Portuguese penalty from Moutinho. Andres Iniesta, Pepe, Gerard Pique, Nani and Sergio Ramos all put away their penalties before Alves — who had inadvertently stepped up for the previous penalty which was eventually converted by Nani — hit the bar, leaving Fabregas to put Spain through.

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