Monday 11 December 2017

Alonso brace dumps out French

Spain 2

France 0

Xavi Alonso celebrated his 100th international cap with both goals as Spain saw off France to set up an Iberian derby against Portugal in the semi-finals of Euro 2012.

Alonso's rare headed goal put Spain in control after 19 minutes and the midfielder wrapped up the victory with a last-minute penalty.

France were distinctly off colour all night and barely tested Spain, who will put their European crown on the line against Portugal in Donetsk on Wednesday night.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque reverted to his strikerless starting formation, replacing Fernando Torres with Cesc Fabregas in his only change from the win against Croatia.

France started with two right-backs in Anthony Reveillere and Mathieu Debuchy, although neither could prevent Jordi Alba finding Alonso with a telling cross.

France were struggling to keep possession, which is not a problem Spain's midfield artists suffer from too often and certainly not last night.

The French formation was affording Alvaro Arbeloa and David Silva plenty of space in which to attack down the Spanish right -- but the opening goal after 19 minutes came down their left flank.

Iniesta burst forward and while Alba got the better of Debuchy, Alonso had escaped the attentions of Florent Malouda wide on the right.

When Debuchy stood up his cross at the far post, Alonso came racing in unmarked to beat Hugo Lloris with a downward header.

France sent on Samir Nasri and Jeremy Menez in the second half and found some joy down the left flank where Ribery drove a low cross towards Menez, which Casillas just about dealt with.

But a Spanish victory never seemed in doubt and after Pedro's quick feet won a penalty off Anthony Reveillere, Alonso despatched the spot-kick.

Spain: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Silva (Pedro 65), Iniesta (Cazorla 84), Fabregas (Torres, 67).

France: Lloris, Reveillere, Rami, Koscielny, Clichy, Debuchy (Menez 65), Cabaye, M'Vila (Giroud 79), Malouda (Nasri 65), Ribery, Benzema.

Referee: N Rizzoli

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