MADRID, June 28 (Xinhua) -- The popularity of the Spanish national football team in Spain was highlighted once again on Wednesday night as the vital moment of their win against Portugal attracted the country' s biggest ever TV audience.
Spain' s dramatic penalty win in the penalty shoot-out against Portugal in the first semi-final of the European Championship has taken the Spanish to their third final in the last three international tournaments.
The Spanish won the 2008 European Championships and followed that up by lifting the 2010 World Cup, now the side coached by Vicente del Bosque has become the first European side to reach three consecutive finals.
Wednesday' s triumph on penalties against Portugal was watched by a total of 18,141,000 Spaniards with 83 percent of the country' s TV audience tuning in to watch the drama from the penalty spot.
19,086,000 people were watching the final penalty of the shoot-out as Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabrigas scored Spain' s fifth penalty to qualify the Spanish for the final.
It is the highest ever TV audience for a single TV program in Spain and shows just how much the football team has caught the imagination of Spaniards.
With an EU bailout officially requested on Monday, over 4,700,000 Spaniards out of work and the economy in recession, Spaniards are being bombarded with bad news every day and Del Bosque' s side are helping to provide something positive for the population to focus on and to reflect their national pride.