Spain 2-0 France – UEFA Euro 2012 Quarterfinal Match Recap
Xabi Alonso celebrates the opening goal of the match.
Xabi Alonso celebrated his 100th cap for the Spanish national team with a brace that sent the current champions into the semifinals. This win was the first in seven competitive attempts against the French, who eliminated Spain in the 2006 World Cup.
Samir Nasri (left) and Andres Iniesta (right).
Vicente Del Bosque once again chose to start Cesc Fábregas as a false nine in place of Fernando Torres. This move saw, once again, a Spanish side with complete control of ball possession. France is usually the side that takes charge of territory, but they left far too many gaps through the sides to completely nullify Spain.
Xavi Hernández (left), Yohan Cabaye (center) & Laurent Koscielny (right) after the ball.
La Roja was the side with the most forward pressure, as the French was too slow in building any attacks. The first costly mistake came in the 19th minute, when an unmarked Alonso headed the ball into the net.
The second half was better for Les Bleus, who seemed to come alive thanks to an increase in possession. The substitution of Malouda for Nasri helped get France deeper into the Spanish backline, although never enough to penetrate the strong defense. The last ten minutes of the game showed France’s inability to come up with ideas to create any chances, and an 89th minute foul by Reveillere on Pedro allowed Alonso to score his second by penalty kick.
Spanish teammates celebrate Xabi Alonso’s goal.
Overall, the match seemed too easy of a win for Spain. The French were too flat to create enough goal opportunities, which cost them their elimination. Spain will battle with Portugal on Wednesday, June 27th for a spot in the European Championship final.
Mathieu Debuchy reacts to France’s defeat against Spain.
Man of the Match: Xabi Alonso, for being a vital part of the midfield and scoring both goals for his team.
Dud of the Match: Cesc Fábregas, who did nothing to aid the Spanish forward line.