Spanish 'dark horses' now look like thoroughbreds

Despite a runners-up finish to France at Euro 1984 and a gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, the Iberian nation was haunted by what became known as the "curse of the quarters" - at Euros 1996 and 2000 and in the World Cups of 1994 and 2002 the last eight had proved a bitter stumbling block.

Spanish fans feared the worst at Euro 2008 when world champions Italy battled to a 0-0 draw to force a quarter-final penalty shootout, but that was when their luck changed and Iker Casillas's saves sent them through.

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