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Euro 2012 quarter-final: Spain 2 France 0

SoccerNews in European Championships 23 Jun 2012

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Spain remain on track to defend their European title after a 2-0 win over France in their Euro 2012 quarter-final on Saturday.

Spain remain on track to defend their European title after a 2-0 win over France in their Euro 2012 quarter-final on Saturday.

A brace from Xabi Alonso was all that separated the two teams at Donbass Arena as Spain booked a meeting with Portugal in the last four.

France rarely posed a threat as Spain bossed the game in large parts, opening the scoring midway through the first half as Alonso headed in as he completed a century of international appearances.

Despite an improved performance in the second half France failed to find a breakthrough and received a sucker-punch when Alonso slotted home from the penalty spot in second-half stoppage time.

Vicente del Bosque again started with Cesc Fabregas as his striker, and the Barcelona midfielder had an early penalty shout turned down.

Spain controlled the ball from kick off, passing it across the field and probing for an opening that proved elusive until the 19th minute.

Laurent Blanc will have been furious that when Spain did create an opportunity it came down his side’s supposedly fortified right.

Iniesta threaded a pass to the overlapping Jordi Alba and he looked up and picked out Alonso at the back post who headed the ball back across goal and into the far corner.

Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema were doing their best to provide a moments respite for France but for all their endeavour they frequently found themselves running into dead ends and handing the ball straight back to the opposition.

In the 35th minute France got their first shot on target from a free kick after Sergio Ramos felled Benzema.

Yohan Cabaye struck the ball from 35 yards and it looked destined for the top left corner but Iker Casillas got a palm to it to stop it from hitting the net.

For all their possession Spain were once again creating very little.

A give-and-go between Iniesta and Fabregas enabled the former to get in behind the defence but his effort was blocked by a recovering Laurent Koscielny on his competitive debut for France.

France returned from the break in a far more positive manner, they were combative in midfield and began to commit greater numbers forward when on the ball.

With an hour played Ribery worked some space on the left and clipped a cross into the middle.

Mathieu Debuchy met it in the centre of the box but his header sailed narrowly over the bar.

With Spain reducing their urgency and the tempo of the game Blanc sensed the momentum swinging the way of his side made two attacking substitutes, replacing Debuchy and Florent Malouda with Jeremy Menez and Samir Nasri.

All night France had allowed Alvaro Arbeloa a lot of freedom on the right in an attempt to provide Ribery with more space in behind him on the left flank.

This almost paid dividends in the 71st minute when the Bayern Munich winger charged forwards and drilled a dangerous cross into the six-yard box but Casillas got a hand to it and gathered at the second attempt.

The substitutes failed to have the desired impact on the game however as the Spanish defence remained tight.

Vicente Del Bosque’s side were awarded a penalty in stoppage-time when Anthony Reveillere brought Pedro down in the area.

Alonso stepped up and converted from 12 yards, sending Hugo Lloris the wrong way to complete his brace and give Spain a deserved win.

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