SPAIN coach Vicente del Bosque admits his side rode their luck to reach their third major final in a row -- and that Portugal were the better team for long periods of last night's semi-final.
The spot kick outcome effectively came down to who had more luck with the woodwork and the world and European champions prevailed.
With Spain leading 3-2 in the shootout, Portugal's Bruno Alves saw his penalty bounce away after striking the bar and Spain's Cesc Fabregas sent his side through when his shot went in off the post.
"We had loads of luck in the penalties," Del Bosque said.
"But I want to express my congratulations to the Portuguese side because they played a great tournament, but we were luckier, we really had all the luck this time."
He said Portugal played well overall, defended better for periods and looked dangerous in attack, but that his substitutions -- bringing on Jesus Navas and Pedro for David Silva and Xavi -- changed the outcome.
"We created more when they came on, we caused them more problems and it was vital I brought them on. We were looking tired and we needed the extra pace, especially in extra time when Pedro came on," he said.
"Extra time though proved our players are gaining in experience. They had the mental strength, they could deal with it."
Del Bosque said he had no difficulty finding players to take the penalties with Xabi Alonso -- who missed -- Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos and Fabregas all keen.
"There was no problem," he added. Cesc told me he wanted take the fifth one to score the winning penalty and he did."