Thursday, October 19, 2017

Alonso joy in 100-game milestone

Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso said he was delighted his match-winning double against France sent his side into the Euro 2012 semi-finals.

But he insists that to do so on the occasion of his 100th national team appearance was just ‘an extra’.

Alonso’s first-half header and injury-time penalty secured the win for the Spaniards, as they look to become the first international side to win three consecutive major titles after success in this competition four years ago, along with their World Cup triumph in South Africa in 2010.

And Alonso highlighted the ease with which the Spanish made victory against the French look, despite many predicting a close encounter beforehand.

“It’s in these matches that we have to show what we’re about,” he told UEFA.com. “We controlled it from start to finish. The team made things easy.

“We’re through to the semi-finals, which was the main thing. We’re pleased about that. The 100 caps is just an extra.

“I was happy about my 100th game and the goals. We know every game is difficult now but we’re in the semi-finals and we’re going to give it everything.”

Alonso, who has been a key component of Vicente Del Bosque’s all-conquering side throughout the last four years, also highlighted the big-game experience the current crop of players have gained as a reason for their success in the clash with France.

“It became easier after the goal,” he said. “It was a big quarter-final game and you have to know how to play them.

“We controlled the match, though we knew it wouldn’t be easy against opponents that were defending deep.”

The world’s number one-ranked international side must now prepare for a semi-final clash with Portugal in Donesk on Wednesday.

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