Spain VS France 2:0 UEFA EURO 2012 Xavi Alonso’s 2 goals put spain into Semi final
Spain : 19′ Xabi Alonso 90+1′ (PG) Xabi Alonso
June 23, 2012 7:45 PM BST
Donbass Arena — Donets’k
Referee: N. Rizzoli
Spain: Sergio Ramos
France: Yohan Cabaye, Jérémy Menez
90+4′FULL TIME. Spain win 2-0 thanks to two goals from Xabi Alonso on his 100th cap. France were very disappointing and it is Spain who go through to face Portugal in the semi-finals.90+3′Torres twists and turns in the box as he tries to add a third goal but Koscielny stands firm to block. He has had a good game for France tonight.90+1′GOAL! Spain 2-0 France! Xabi Alonso takes it and slots the ball to the left as Lloris dives to the right! Game over.90′Penalty to Spain! Cazorla plays in Pedro and after pulling out a stepover he is kicked to the ground by Reveillere!88′Nasri has a late corner and Rami heads back across goal, but Koscielny can’t keep the ball in play as he stretches at the back post.86′This game is meandering to a rather insipid conclusion I am afraid. This has probably been the worst game of the tournament so far and France have surrendered here. It’s been a terrible performance from them.84′Spain make a change as Santi Cazorla replaces Iniesta.82′France need to have more urgency here, the game is slipping away from them quickly.80′Torres gets on the end of a pass from Alba but is ruled offside as he sees his effort blocked by Lloris. That looked a very tight decision.79′Here is Giroud and he comes on for defensive midfielder M’Vila as France throw caution to the wind.78′Arsenal fans, we are now going to see Olivier Giroud, who is set to sign for the Gunners after this tournament.76′Menez is booked for dissent and that rules him out of the semi-final should France progress. What a silly boy.75′Spain have passed up the chance to kill France off and could now feel the pressure with just 15 minutes remaining. This game is far from finished.74′Spain have had 59 per cent possession so far tonight. It feels like more though.72′France threaten! Excellent work from Ribery as he races onto a fine pass from M’Vila, gets to the byline and pulls the ball back. Casillas throws out his left arm to prevent the ball from finding Menez and then quickly smothers as the midfielder looks to pick up any scraps.70′Now Alba chips a pass through for Pedro, who gets in behind Reveillere and only a slide from Koscielny prevents Torres from tapping in at the near post.69′Xavi takes a neat touch 35 yards from goal and spins before seeing a decent volley blocked by Koscielny in the France defence.68′So Spain now have a focal point to their attack, while France have more of an attacking outlook. This could result in a more eventful game.67′Xavi takes the corner and the ball bounces through to Ramos at the back post. Spain now make their second change as Torres comes on for Fabregas.66′Alba almost finds Fabregas with a fine low cross into the centre but Rami clears before the Barcelona man can get on the end of it.65′Spain counter with a change of their own as Pedro replaces Silva, who hasn’t been quite at his best tonight.65′A double change for France as Nasri and Menez come on for Malouda and Debuchy.64′Benzema slashes a shot well over the bar. That is a poor attempt by the striker.63′France are readying Nasri and Menez on the sidelines.62′Fabregas races onto a pass through the centre and almost takes the ball wide of Lloris. However, the keeper had raced off his line quickly and intervenes. Fine goalkeeping.61′Suddenly France look lively again as they pour into the Spain box but Del Bosque’s side shut the door and manage to clear.60′France go close! France actually have a chance! Ribery with the cross and Debuchy gets his head to the ball in the centre of the box, sending it just over the bar.59′Clichy suddenly injects pace down the left and plays a square pass for Ribery but the midfielder fails to get control of the ball as Ramos comes across to hoof it clear.59′Fabregas finds himself onside to the right of the box but his low cross for Iniesta is cleared by Reveillere. Again Spain fail to find a cutting edge in the box.57′Silva and Ribery battle enthusiastically for the ball and the referee judges that the Spain midfielder has fouled his France counterpart. France take it quickly but can’t carve out a chance.56′Stat from Opta: “France have beaten Spain at two European Championship finals (one draw) and have gone on to win the title on both occasions (1984 2-0 in the final, 2000 2-1 in the quarter-final).”55′It depends on what you want from your football match but I think there are some who will complain that Spain are a bit boring if the match continues in this vein. Many made exactly that complaint at the World Cup. Not that they will be concerned of course.54′France have been much improved in this second half – Blanc must have had a gentle word. They have looked more sprightly and have shown much more intent.53′Nice from France as the ball is worked to Benzema and he finds Ribery with a clever pass. However, Ramos senses danger and races across to stick his boot in. Excellent defending.52′Alonso suddenly sees space open up for him after poking the ball forward with his first touch but his lashed effort soars off target. Worth a go.50′Brilliant from Benzema. He juggles the ball near the touchline before turning to find space and play in Debuchy. However, the right back takes a heavy touch and then brings down his man to give away a free kick.49′Silva does well to cut out a France pass down the line but then cedes possession straight back with a rather indulgent flick that lands nowhere near a Spain shirt.48′Ribery plays a ball down the line for Malouda but Pique comes across to snuff out the danger.47′No changes from either side, but surely France will have to call on Samir Nasri, Hatem Ben Arfa or Jeremy Menez if they continue to struggle.46′KICK OFF!-Let me know what you made of that first half by getting in contact on Twitter. Follow Tom Adams on Twitter!45+1′HALF TIME. Alonso’s header has Spain in control against France, who have offered little going forward. A bit of a sterile game so far.45+1′We will have one added minute.45′Xavi curls in a free kick from the left wing but sends the ball flying into the grateful arms of Lloris in the France goal.44′A nice intricate passing move from Spain in the final third but Fabregas’s pass for Silva just has too much on it. Spain have dominated as you would expect, but they do lack a certain something in the final third with Fabregas in attack.42′Cabaye goes into the book when his trailing leg catches the standing leg of Sergio Busquets late. A messy challenge.41′Stat from Opta: “Iker Casillas already has six clean sheets at European Championship finals to his name (level with Italy’s Dino Zoff); only Edwin van der Sar (nine) has more.”39′This time Spain hit Pique from the set-piece but his header from 12 yards out soars over the bar. He found himself in too much space though.38′A lovely ball from Fabregas as he receives a pass from Iniesta and flicks the ball over the defence for his team-mate, whose shot is deflected out for a corner.37′France are gradually improving though they remain hasty when in possession and are yet to really trouble Casillas. Spain’s fluency has decreased a touch, though they have never looked anything but in total control.36′Alba is caught late by Benzema as he clears down the line and the two players have a little chat, forcing the referee to blow his whistle and calm them down.34′Ribery tries a clever square pass but can’t pick out Benzema inside the box. He throws up his arms in frustration. France need to make the most of the chances they manage to create tonight.33′Ribery delivers the corner and Casillas drops the ball 10 yards out, the keeper looking relieved when he is able to drop to the ground and smother the ball.32′Cabaye is given responsibility this time and he forces Casillas into a smart save with a curling effort that was destined for the top corner.31′Ramos goes into the book for blocking off Madrid team-mate Benzema after the Frenchman knocked the ball to the side of him. A free kick in a good position for France…30′Spain hit Fabregas from the corner – he is the big man up front after all – but under pressure he can’t steer his header on target.29′Spain break with intent and Fabregas loses his man with a nice touch before sliding in Iniesta. The midfielder shoots first time but his effort is deflected behind for a corner.28′Spain look very comfortable and if the game continues to pan out like this then I think Blanc will come under heavy fire for his decision to sit back and invite pressure.26′Alonso, who will miss the semi-finals with a booking tonight, clatters into Benzema to give away a free kick 35 yards from goal. The striker shoots and lifts the ball high over the bar.25′Stat from Opta: “Over their last 25 fixtures at Euros and World Cups, the only side able to score more than a single goal against Spain were France (3-1 in the 2006 World Cup).”24′Silva attempts to find a red shirt with a cut-back before France string together a nice passing move for once at the other end. Neither team manage to get a shot away though.22′The Spain fans mark each pass with “ole”. Confidence is flowing through the reigning champions now. France surrendered any initiative with their formation and now have a lot to do.21′There have now been 20 headed goals out of a total of 68 – a record ratio for the European Championship.20′Spain look for a quick second but Xavi gets under his volley and thumps the ball high into the stands. France are set up to contain Spain but now they have to come out.19′GOAL! Spain 1-0 France! Xabi Alonso heads home on his 100th appearance for his country! Iniesta plays in Alba and Debuchy slips, allowing the Valencia man to put in a deep cross to the back post where Alonso powers a header back across goal.18′Xavi pings a pass out for Arbeloa, who so often tonight has been the outlet for the Spain attack. Who can he target with a cross though? Spain’s army of midfielders are all tiny.16′To be honest this hasn’t exactly been a thriller. France’s set-up has seen to that.15′Yann M’Vila tries to inject some urgency into France’s build-up play with a cute pass forward for Karim Benzema, who is lurking to the left of the box. However, his pass is too strong for the striker to control.14′Silva shapes to dart into the box before playing the ball into the channel to find Arbeloa. He panics and pulls a shot across the box. That’s not who you want getting on the end of the ball in the box really, is it?13′Stat from Opta: “Spain have won just one of their nine previous European Championship or World Cup quarter-finals outright (v Paraguay in World Cup 2010) – four of those ended in penalty shootouts, with Spain winning just once this way (Euro 2008).”12′France really are standing off quite alarmingly. Spain are taking advantage by playing the ball around in front of the box and across the width of the pitch.11′Fabregas spreads the ball wide to Arbeloa and he whips in a cross that Lloris comes off his line to grab. France haven’t exactly been overwhelmed yet but it is Spain doing all the pressing.9′Lovely skills from Ribery as he drags the ball back and gets away from Alvaro Arbeloa. Spain recover though and hassle him out of possession.8′On his 100th cap, Alonso tries to score a trademark goal when attempting to float a shot over Lloris from 45 yards. However, the France captain is alert and catches the shot.7′There have only been two penalties at these finals and though Fabregas’s claim was a bit weak, some referees may have given it.6′Andres Iniesta tries to slip a pass through a crowd of players to Fabregas but sees Rami cut his attempt out. Alonso then picks out Fabregas, who goes to ground under contact from Gael Clichy in the box. There was contact and he wants a penalty, but it was a 50-50 incident.5′No patience from France as Lloris snatches at a clearance and punts the ball out of play. You won’t get very far against Spain if you give the ball away that easily.4′Franck Ribery and Florent Malouda combine well down the left but Spain, in typical fashion, soon crowd them out and win possession back. Xabi Alonso tries to pick out Cesc Fabregas over the top but gets too much on it.3′Jordi Alba looks to burst into space down the left but Adil Rami comes across to boot the ball out for a throw. Safety first: that is France’s raison d’être tonight.2′Spain are already knocking the ball about with a hypnotic rhythm. France are sitting very deep so far.1′KICK OFF!