VIENNA, Austria (CNN) -- Spain beat world champions Italy 4-2 on penalties to reach the semifinals of Euro 2008 after Sunday's match in Vienna had ended scoreless.
|Cesc Fabregas raises his arms in triumph after converting the winning penalty in Vienna.|
Spanish captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas saved penalties by Daniele de Rossi and Antonio Di Natale to leave Cesc Fabregas to beat Gianluigi Buffon with the deciding kick.
David Villa, Santi Cazorla, Marcos Senna also scored for Spain, but Dani Guiza had his effort saved by Buffon.
Fabio Grosso and Mauro Camoranesi scored their penalties for Italy who won a shoot out to beat France in the final of the 2006 World Cup.
"Clearly losing on penalties after working so hard doesn't leave us happy," Italy coach Roberto Donadoni told the Associated Press.
"We all spent a lot of energy. You've got to recall those who didn't play tonight. They've got to be the most disappointed, and I'm sorry for them."
Spain will return to the Ernst Happel stadium on Thursday to play Russia for a place in the final of the tournament. Germany play Turkey in the first semifinal in Basle the previous night.
"I would like to congratulate first of all my players for their remarkable behavior and maintaining their morale during the match," said 69-year-old Spanish coach Luis Aragones after the penalty drama.
"It was very difficult because the Italians closed down all the spaces, which made it difficult to play our natural game."
Aragones' side were bidding to become the first group winners to progress to the semifinals after the upsets of the previous quarterfinals, but were unable to create much momentum in a first half stalemate.
It took over half an hour for David Silva to test Buffon in the Italy goal and after Luca Toni had a dangerous header blocked at the other, Silva shot just wide with a second attempt.
The teams went off the whistles at half-time and the second half was barely a more open spectacle with Italy sitting deep to frustrate the Spaniards,
Just after the hour mark saw the best chance to date with Toni making a nuisance of himself in the Spanish penalty area, the ball falling free to substitute Mauro Camoranesi whose shot was blocked by the legs of Casillas.
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Spanish substitute Fabregas had an immediate influence on the game and his midfield colleague Marcos Senna twice tested Buffon with long range efforts.
Buffon punched the first, a free kick clear, but in the follow-up attack was nearly embarrassed as the ball squirmed under his body and hit the post.
Toni was the focal point of most of the Italian attacks, but ironically it was his touch that deprived Fabio Grosso of a clear cut chance from a Di Natale cross.
The opening moments of the first half of added time provided rare goalmouth action at both ends with Silva shaving the post with Buffon beaten and Gianluigi Zambrotta crossing for Di Natale to bring a fine save out of Casillas.
But there was an inevitability about penalties where Spain put disappointments of the past firmly behind them to earn a deserved place in the last four.