Next Game

Spain v Macedonia

Monday, 08 September 2014, 19:45

Euro 2016 Qualifying Group C

Last Game

Australia 0 - 3 Spain

Monday, 23 June 2014, 17:00

World Cup Group B

Spain cruise into Euro semis

Xabi Alonso celebrated his 100th cap with both goals as Spain cruised into the Euro 2012 semi-finals with a 2-0 win over France in Donetsk.

Last Updated: 23/06/12 at 22:03 Post Comment

Alonso: His header proved to be the winner

Alonso: His header proved to be the winner

World Cup Promotions

Daily World Cup Promotions, sign up for a free £50 matched bet

Alonso's rare headed goal put Spain in control after 19 minutes and the former Liverpool 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 in the semi-final against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Donetsk on Wednesday night.

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

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

Spain set out their stall early, with Xavi and Andres Iniesta combining magnificently in midfield and they almost succeeded in picking out Fabregas.

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

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

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

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

Silva twisted his way into the box, ran at Manchester City team-mate Gael Clichy and almost picked out Fabregas when he cut the ball back.

France had barely tested the Spanish defence and Karim Benzema wasted a 25-yard free-kick by lofting it so high over the bar that Yohan Cabaye took over for the next one.

The Newcastle midfielder did much better, forcing Iker Casillas into a smart one-handed save just under his crossbar.

Casillas caused just a brief moment of panic in the Spanish defence when he dropped the subsequent corner but the Real Madrid goalkeeper recovered quickly.

Meanwhile, Spain continued trying to pick Les Bleus apart and Laurent Koscielny had to be alert to intercept Fabregas' delightful lofted pass towards Iniesta.

France inexplicably left Gerard Pique unmarked in their own box from a corner and were fortunate the Barcelona defender missed the target with his header.

There was greater energy and urgency about France after the interval, with Benzema almost finding Debuchy in the Spanish box.

Debuchy was then picked out by Ribery but planted his firm header over the bar and Benzema then ran at the Spanish defence before unleashing a shot even worse than his earlier free-kick.

Clichy and Ribery combined neatly down the French left but the ball would not come down for Malouda and Pique cleared Spain's lines.

Spain broke with Xavi trying to release Fabregas but Lloris read the pass well and raced out to the edge of his box to smother the danger in a well-timed challenge.

While France sent on Samir Nasri and Jeremy Menez, Spain introduced Pedro and Torres, who would have combined to double the lead after another beautifully-crafted attack had Koscielny not been on hand with another timely interception.

France were finding some joy down the left flank and Ribery worked his way to the byline before driving a low cross towards Menez, which Casillas just about dealt with.

But a Spanish victory never seemed in doubt from the moment Alonso opened the scoring and it was confirmed in the last minute.

Pedro's quick feet got him into the box, he went down under pressure from Reveillere and Alonso despatched the spot-kick.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

L

ast five Arsenal captains: Gallas, Fabregas, Van Persie, Vermaelen, Arteta. Talk about a poisoned chalice...

juan de gunnaz
The Sluggish Gossip

W

ill any Brazilian parent ever name their child Fred again? I could see it earning similar status as the first name Adolph in Germany (or anywhere, come to think of it).

bleublancrouge
Nothing Will Ever Be The Same For Brazil. Ever.

C

redit to Vlaar for stepping up. Better to be the man who missed than be the coward who wouldn't step up for his country

avspitfire
Dutch stars refused penalty

Footer 365

Liverpool and England forward Raheem Sterling to learn from first World Cup

Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling has pledged to learn from his first World Cup experience with England.

World Cup: Louis van Gaal says two Netherlands players refused to take first penalty against Argentina

Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal claims none of his players wanted to take the first penalty against Argentina.

World Cup: Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella thinks Germany are favourites for Sunday's final

​Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella thinks a well-rested Germany will have the advantage in Sunday's World Cup final.

Mail Box

Do England Need Scholes, Lineker Etc?

They've all got ideas about where things are going wrong, so why don't they step up and help? Plus, we have lots of fall-out from the dullness of Holland v Argentina...

Mails: Are Footballers Just Big Kids?

That's what the mailbox thinks, with Brazil's players showing a lack of responsibility in their 7-1 thrashing by Germany. Plus, more on Ozil and the importance of passion...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property