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View from Spain: Sergio Ramos becomes Spain’s Braveheart

Merciful Zeus, thereâÂÂs some big man-love (and lady-love) towards Sergio âÂÂTarzanâ Ramos in Spain on Thursday â and why shouldnâÂÂt there be for a footballer who is such a fine defender, has cojones made of brass and a cool stick-on beard.

The Real Madrid centre-back is the latest winner of the âÂÂhero of the hourâ award for la Roja, taking the trophy from Xabi Alonso after a solid display at the back against Portugal and then a cheeky penalty at the end, quite the response to his missed effort in the Champions League against Bayern Munich.

Tomás Roncero in AS is leading the love-charge to the front of the queue to give Ramos a hearty hug with his declaration that âÂÂSergio is a medieval knight who pulled Excalibur from the stone, the Braveheart who nearly breaks his neck listening to the anthem of Spain, this country and this badge that he loves above anything else.â RonceroâÂÂs AS colleagues seem to agree by giving the centre-back four out of three for his display.


"Oh get up, you diving tart..."

The semi-final sums up Spain's overall performance in the previous two matches â not great, but just enough to get through to the next stage, if on this occasion only by the hairs on the countryâÂÂs chinny-chin-chin.

âÂÂOK, it wasnâÂÂt a great game,â admits AS editor Alfredo Relaño. âÂÂWe werenâÂÂt better than Portugal, but neither were we worse. We didnâÂÂt do much, barely shot at goal; we were cautious, although no more than Portugal.âÂÂ

MarcaâÂÂs front cover applauds the countryâÂÂs âÂÂheroesâ in a somewhat over-the-top manner, and has praise for Cesc Fabregas who volunteered to take his sideâÂÂs fifth penalty. âÂÂTo the final, and to history,â declares the paperâÂÂs banner on Thursday.

However, thereâÂÂs a timely warning from former Atlético Madrid boss Gregorio Manzano, saying that Spain will need to buck their ideas up on Sunday if they are to make history and become the first team to win the Euros, World Cup and then the Euros again. âÂÂUntil now, weâÂÂve dreamt about being in the final,â writes Manzano, âÂÂnow we have to wake up to become champions.âÂÂ

ItâÂÂs the same got-away-with-that-one vibe in Barcelona, with Sport's Josep Maria Casanovas writing that Spain âÂÂdid not have a great game but achieved a great successâÂÂ. The paper also takes great delight in noting a quote from German tabloid Bild, which writes that âÂÂthere was one consolation for Ronaldo: after more than 120 minutes of football his gelled hair-do was perfect.âÂÂ

Mundo Deportivo also take delight at a poke in the direction of the very Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo, with JM Artells writing (while forgetting C-Ron's goal at the Camp Nou and Copa del Rey final) that âÂÂonce more, Cristiano disappeared in big games. He did nothing memorable in WednesdayâÂÂs semi.âÂÂ

Nevertheless, after what was a very tense night indeed itâÂÂs RonaldoâÂÂs Real Madrid team-mate that has won all the plaudits.