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CONFEDERATIONS CUP 2017

Hero Bravo sends Chile to final after Portugal's penalty pain

Portugal and Chile played out 120 minutes at the Kazan Arena with no goals to show for it and it was the Man City keeper who came out on top in the spot kick drama
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Update:
Soccer Football - Portugal v Chile - FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 - Semi Final - Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 28, 2017   Chile’s Claudio Bravo celebrates with team mates after winning the penalty shootout   REUTERS/Darren Staples
DARREN STAPLESREUTERS

Portugal 0 - 0 Chile (0-3 pens): match report

We should have seen it coming. In the blistering first 10 minutes of the match both Rui Patricio and Claudio Bravo pulled off impressive stops for their respective teams and so it was that the semi-final would be decided by the big men with gloves. Neither team could get passed the opposition's last line of defence for a full 120 minutes and then Claudio Bravo became the headline name for tomorrow's papers as he saved the all three spot kicks that he faced.

Claudio Bravo plus penalty equals save.
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Claudio Bravo plus penalty equals save.Robbie Jay Barratt - AMAGetty Images

Cristiano, Sanchez, Vidal: still no goals

The first 90 minutes were a mix of high energy, direct play, and lack of any real desire to have a concerted amount of controlled possession by either side. Chile had more of the ball but the chances that came about, and the danger caused in the opponents' box were shared equally. The teams went off at half-time knowing that they could easily have had a lead, but could just as easily found themselves behind. Even was fair.

Less explosive was the second 45 but the pattern was similar. Again chances were being created, balls were being delivered into the danger areas and spaces were being exploited. But neither side could get a hold of the game and there was a sense that it was going to peter out, while moments of excitement threatened to really bring the semi-final to life. Nothing came and we headed for an extra half hour.

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo tried to make things happen throughout.
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Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo tried to make things happen throughout.YURI CORTEZAFP

Portugal press but Chile almost make them pay

Extra-time saw a similar pattern emerge but soon the European Champions took a foothold. Whether it was by design or not, they harried more, and further up the pitch, forcing more errors and long clearances from the Chileans. With this returned possession, Portugal looked the more likely to open the scoring but coudn't carve out any clear cut opportunities. And right at the death of the second period Chile almost stole the game.

Vidal latched onto a pull back from the Portugal goal line and expertly cut across the ball with the outside of his right boot. This sent it spinning off to the far post, Patricio watching it helplessly, but instead of nestling in the corner it came straight back to the waiting Rodriguez in front of an empty net. It was a split-second reaction to get his foot correctly angled and the attempt went higher than he'd hoped and came back off the bar to be cleared by a disbelieving but relieved Portugal side. They had escaped.

Post | Chile’s Arturo Vidal can't believe how close he was to finishing the game off in extra time.
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Post | Chile’s Arturo Vidal can't believe how close he was to finishing the game off in extra time.GRIGORY DUKORREUTERS

Bravo, Vidal, Aranguiz and Sanchez

So to penalties and Claudio Bravo must have had memories of the match that got his team to the Confederations Cup in the first place. That penalty shoot-out where Lionel Messi missed, Chile beat Argentina, and the Barça star retired from international football, only to return later. Good experience for the Chile keeper to draw upon. Three times Bravo was asked to save, two to his right and the third to his left. All three saved well. Prior to each, Vidal, Aranguiz and Sanchez had buried theirs. Cristiano didn't even get to take his turn.

Chile then head to the final on Sunday and can sit back and enjoy the second semi-final, giving their legs and lungs a needed rest.

Portugal 0-0 Chile: Confederations Cup semi-final how it happened

Portugal vs Chile: match preview

The Confederations Cup's first last-four clash sees a match-up between the European champions and the Copa América holders as Portugal take on Chile.

A berth in Sunday's final in Saint Petersburg awaits the winners, with their trophy-decider opponents coming from Thursday's second semi between Germany and Mexico.

Portugal

Portugal's 4-0 thumping of New Zealand on Saturday saw them claim top spot in Group A ahead of Mexico, and help to consign hosts Russia to the disappointment of a first-round exit.

Defender Pepe is suspended for Fernando Santos' men after picking up two bookings in the group stage, with José Fonte in line to come into the backline to partner Bruno Alves.

Meanwhile, Raphael Guerreiro suffered an ankle injury in the 1-0 win over Russia in the Seleçao's second group game, and although he is definitely unavailable to face Chile, Santos said on Tuesday that the full-back could return for the final or third-place play-off.

Cristiano Ronaldo comes into the semi-finals as the tournament's joint-top scorer with two, with many billing the match in Kazan as a clash of two star strikers in 'Ronnie' and Chile's Alexis Sánchez.

Chile

Chile haven't sparkled in Russia, labouring to an opening-game victory over Cameroon before stalemates with Germany and Australia.

The 2015 and 2016 South American champions were made to sweat by the Socceroos in their final Group B match, falling behind to a James Troisi goal before a 67th-minute Martín Rodríguez leveller ensured they took second in Group B.

And while Portugal have the joint-most prolific attack in this year's Confederations Cup - alongside Germany - La Roja are the lowest scorers of all the semi-finalists, with four.

Manchester City keeper Claudio Bravo returned in goal against NZ after returning to fitness, and is set to continue between the sticks against Portugal, who Chile have not yet beaten in three previous meetings, which have brought two wins for the Portuguese and one draw.

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