Perhaps unable to match the sustained skill of the first semi-final, this was nonetheless a match packed to the brim with assorted drama.
France and Portugal set a high bar the previous day – Michel Platini earning Les Bleus a last-gasp win in extra time – but there was still plenty to admire in Lyon. Søren Lerby gave Denmark an early lead but Spain were level midway through the second half, Antonio Maceda, the man who put out holders West Germany, again stepping up to the plate. Klaus Berggreen's extra-time dismissal made Denmark's task even harder and though they hung on for penalties, it was Spain who kept their nerve.
Miguel Muñoz Mozún's charges could have been in front after just three minutes, Lobo Carrasco's diving header from a corner bringing a fine instinctive save from Ole Qvist. Fortunate not to be behind, Denmark were soon in front. Luis Arconada did well to keep out a a Preben Elkjær header from Frank Arnesen's cross, but Lerby was on hand to tuck in the loose ball.
The Danes were on top for the remainder of the opening period, Arnesen hitting a post when they were at their most dominant. Half-time, however, proved a turning point. Qvist saved Denmark again when Juan Antonio Señor was clean through, but was unable to keep Spain at bay for long.
The scores were level on 67 minutes, Carrasco striking a post before the ball finally found its way to Maceda inside a crowded penalty area. Scorer of the winner against the Germans in the group stage, he kept his cool to finish with a low shot.
Both goalkeepers went on to make saves in extra time, with Carrasco going particularly close on two occasions. Berggreen was sent off in the 107th minute but still there was no separating the sides. Preben Elkjær, one of the stars of the tournament and probably the last player France would have wanted to face in the final, was the man to miss from the spot – Spain were through to face the hosts.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.