Spain explodes with joy
Spain's press exploded with joy over a high-suspense penalty shoot-out victory over Portugal that swept Spain into the Euro 2012 finals.
The front pages were splashed with celebratory headlines: "Proud to be Spanish", "Our heroes", and "We're off to the finals".
"To the final and to legend," boasted the front page of best-selling sports daily La Marca after Spain beat Portugal 4-2 on penalties in the first Euro 2012 semifinal in Donetsk on Wednesday.
After an attritional game finished 0-0 following extra time at Donbass Arena, Cesc Fabregas swept home the winning spot-kick.
"There is no path without thorns," Marca said.
"That was shown again in this Euro and especially in the tense duel with Portugal, who were up to expectations: a team of fine players on every line with Cristiano Ronaldo in the background," it said.
"Spain had to work the game centimetre by centimetre," the paper said.
Now there remains: "Just one metre to glory."
Conservative daily El Mundo said the team showed their mental strength by adapting to a tough match.
"Spain is beginning to get comfortable with the tedium and the agony, displaying a strong psychology," it added.
The paper waxed lyrical with allusions to La Roja's famous red strip.
"The red of this champion is like the red of glowing iron being worked on an anvil. It is the red of passion, of course, but also the red of spirit, of a Spain that believes in itself as no other has before it."
Sports daily AS was more light-hearted.
"Thanks for the marvellous heart attack," the paper said of the nail-biting penalty shoot-out.
"It could not have been more beautiful, or more dramatic," the paper added.
"We deserved it. We really deserved it."
Spain won by a few centimetres, AS said, but the size of the victory was not important. "We played little and badly, no-one can deny it, but they (Portugal) played less and worse."
Leading daily El Pais gave glowing praise.
"Spain won't come down from heaven," the paper said.
"In an emotional and exhausting game, the Roja showed their winning genes, beating Portugal by penalties with a final shot by Cesc and will play their third consecutive final," El Pais added.
"We call them winners. It used to be the name for the Germans, now it is for Spain, this Spain with no limits which has not fallen from heaven in the past four years."