Spain beat Italy via shootout, book semis' berth

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Vienna (Austria), Jun 23: Spain, who have an uncanny knack of faltering in the big  games, registered a jinx-breaking win against Italy in the last quarter-final tie of the Euro 2008 here on Sunday night.
 
Spain beat the World Champions 4-2(0-0) via penalty shootout in a keenly contasted game before a full house at Ernst Happel Stadium. Both the teams were tied 0-0 at the end of regulation full time and failed to break the ice in extra time taking the game to shootout.  Spain's Real Madrid goli Iker Casillas savedthe penalities from de Natalie and de Rossi before the Arsenal mid-fielder converted one to fire the football mad country in Iberian Penensula to the semis.
 
Spain had created more opportunities in the regulation time but failed to convert 'em. Strikers Torres and David Villa had a bad day at office. The Casillas led side will take on the spirited Russians in the semis' clash in the same venue on Thursday.

Though we didn't play great football, we deserved to win on penalty kicks is what Luis Aragones said after the match. He further added that neither did Italy play well. "The pace of the game was rather slow. If we'd had a little more pace on the ball, we'd have got more chances. We had three or four chances but our shooting wasn't quite there."

Spain, the only one of the four group winners to reach the semifinals at Euro 2008, downed Russia 4-1 in a group match, but the Russians have improved dramatically since then and cut apart Sweden and then the Netherlands to reach the last four.

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