Cesc Fàbregas said he had a "feeling" he would score the winning penalty against Portugal as he revelled in Spain's "extraordinary" feat of reaching three successive major finals.
Article top media content
Just as against Italy in their UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-final, Cesc Fàbregas emerged as Spain's shoot-out hero and the midfielder admitted he had had a "feeling" that fortune was going to smile on him once more. So it did as Spain beat Portugal to reach an "extraordinary" third successive major final, while for team-mates Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos there was additional delight at tasting victory on spot kicks after losing a semi-final by the same fashion in this season's UEFA Champions League.
Cesc Fàbregas, Spain midfielder
I thought about it going to penalties all evening and Toni Grande [Spain's assistant coach] told me I'd take the second one, but I told him I wanted to take the fifth. I had this feeling and then I got the opportunity and it's fantastic. [I felt] a lot of emotion, I remember a lot of people, my family who've not been able to come here. I regret now telling them not to come but they will come to the final. I feel so emotional, reaching three finals in four years. I do not know if anyone has ever done the same in history, but it is really extraordinary.
Sergio Ramos, Spain defender
The important thing is that in the end we took a big step past a great team, who had done a great job in getting here. It was tough and it wasn't our best match, because they made it difficult for us. They like to move the ball around and counterattack, and it was hard going for us. I'm pleased with the performance. The most important thing is the reward for us, which is to get to the final. Whatever happens in the final I am proud to have contributed to the success of the team and the supporters must be proud of us. I wanted to take a penalty, especially after the bad experience in the Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid.
Iker Casillas, Spain goalkeeper
I think that after starting by missing that penalty it was important to equalise, and we made it; and in the end we were lucky, because penalty shoot-outs are actually about luck, and we were rewarded after 120 minutes of suffering. A month ago I tasted the bitter side [of a shoot-out] but now I'm happy to experience the other side. It's about guessing where the ball will go, if not much more.
We'll definitely remember this moment when we no longer get the luck and go through. We're fighting to go on reaching finals as we've done today. This team have come together through a lot of hard work and also the criticism we've had and 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.
Xabi Alonso, Spain midfielder
Fortunately there was a happy ending for us today, but it was tough and we had to work for it. It was a very even game. In extra time we had a lot of chances, but someone has to win and fortune smiled on us. If someone had scored in the 90 minutes they'd have won the game. We knew it was going to be a difficult match, we'd studied them and we knew they'd come out strong and look to take advantage of their physical qualities, and we'd also have to stop their counterattacks.
In games like this you have to keep your calm. We're in another final now and that's a tremendous reward. Whatever happens, we have to be proud. Now we want to take the cup home. For my penalty the keeper made a good save but my team-mates fixed it.
Jordi Alba, Spain defender
In the 90 minutes there was a lot of pressure and it was tight, but Spain were better in extra time. [Sergio Ramos] got a lot of stick after missing against Bayern but he showed a lot of cool and he shut a few people up. He took a really good penalty and he's delighted like the rest of us.
Before the fifth penalty I told Cesc that he had the chance to do the same thing as four years ago. I was very nervous before the penalties and had both good and bad feelings, but in the end everything was fine. Now we will just rest before the final. All 11 players who are playing are equally important both in defence and in attack. We have only conceded one goal in this tournament, and we are very satisfied, but there is still one game left and hopefully we will keep playing this well.