Portugal put up a spirited display, pressing Spain hard over 120 minutes before going down 2-4 on penalties in the first semi-final of Euro 2012.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who often takes the first kick for club and country, chose to take the last kick, but Bruno Alves hit the cross bar from the fourth kick and Cesc Fabregas's corresponding shot hit the upright before rolling in, to deny the Real Madrid superstar his kick as Spain wrapped it up 4-2.

Earlier in regulation time, Portugal surprised Spain by relentlessly pressing them for possession and attacking from their opportunities. Though Spain seemed bewildered by the Portugese approach, they held their own for 90 minutes before turning it on in extra time.

Jordi Alba was a man possessed in extra time, launching attack after attack from the left flank, as Vicente Del Bosque rearranged his defence with three men. Alba combined well with Iniesta for multiple overlapping runs, troubling the Portuguese defence no end.

The edgy Portuguese held on to force the match to penalties.

Spain, now in their third consecutive major final, await the winner of tomorrow's match between Germany and Italy.