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  • Date:23 Jun 2012
  • Kick-off:19:45
  • Venue:Donbass Arena - Donetsk
  • Xabi Alonso (19)

Live Commentary


Laurent Blanc's boys have disappointed at these finals. Plenty of food for thought for the French manager and his coaching staff. These sides will meet again in qualifying for FIFA World Cup 2014.


Full time in Donetsk. Spain 2, France 0. All too easy for Del Bosque's side.


Reveillere fouls Pedro. Alonso to take...


2-0 Spain. Alonso sends Lloris the wrong way. Spain must be in the semis now.




Five minutes left here in Donetsk. It's been a curiously flat performance from the French. If the 1984 and 2000 champions are to win this championship for a third time in their history, they need to score now to force extra time.


An aimless cross into the box by France. They look short of ideas on how to break through the massed ranks of red shirts.


Torres is just offside after being played through on goal. Decent save from Lloris in any case.


Last throw of the dice by Laurent Blanc. Montpellier striker Oliver Giroud has come on to partner Benzema for the last ten minutes. Yann M'Vila has made way.


Menez fails to win a free and is booked for his protests.


France are enjoying their best period of possession in the match. Nasri and Ribery are dropping deep to try to make something happen, but the Spanish defence remains disciplined.


The match is really coming alive now. Ribery with a burst of pace make a little space to cross. Casillas is well positioned to cut the ball out.


The two Spanish subs combine to threaten France but Koscielny is there to snuff out the danger.


Pedro has just come on for David Silva and now Fernando Torres replaces Fabregas.


Here come the cavalry for France. Jeremy Menez and Samir Nasri come on for Matthieu Debuchy and Florent Malouda.


Lloris has just had to be at his best to deny Fabregas. Spain spring the offside trap but the Lyon keeper dashes off his line to take the ball off Fabregas' foot.




Debuchy heads just over from the middle of the Spanish box. It's a much more even encounter now.


Danger for France. Alonso and Silva combine to release Fabregas after Clichy is robbed, but the former Arsenal man's cross is a tame one and France easily clear.


France briefly threaten after Sergio Busquets dallies on the ball, but Benzema's pass attempting to release Ribery is over-hit.


France look to create down the Spanish left. Benzema goes wide to link up with Reveillere but they are crowded out. France could do with some more attacking potency on the right flank.


Not a great first half in Donetsk, if truth be told. Spain have been comfortable, without ever approaching their best. France have done well to nullify the threat coming through the middle, though this has left some gaps on the flanks that Spain have exploited.


The break in play for a French foul allows Ribery to put on a new shirt. His first top was ripped all down one side.


Another corner to Spain comes to nothing.


Terrible marking by the French once more. Gerard Pique is allowed space in the box but his header is poorly executed and fails to hit the target.


Slightly better from France. Franck Ribery does well with a well-timed run in behind the Spanish fullback but his cross is cut out.


Spain have the lead and they look in control at the moment.


France come close to an equaliser through Newcastle United's Cabaye. His 30 yarder forced Casillas into a good save, throwing himself to his right to put the ball out for a corner.




There are plenty of empty seats in the Donbass Arena. A sign of the times perhaps, but not what the bigwigs at UEFA would have wanted for such a showpiece match between two of Europe's power-houses.


Karim Benzama takes it but his kick flies well over Iker Cassilas' bar.


Free kick to France 30 yards from the Spanish goal.


Andreas Iniesta set Alba free with a pass down the left which cut out Mathieu Debuchy.


Jordi Alba it was with the cross to an unmarked Alonso who powered a header past Lloris for 1-0.




The threat is coming down the Spanish right at the moment. David Silva has been at the heart of the most dangerous Spanish attacks.


Spain, as expected, have had the lion's share of possession in the first ten minutes. We await the first shot at goal.


Xabi Alonso with a cheeky long-range effort that didn't fool Hugo Lloris in the French goal.


Ball over the top to Fabregas, who went down under a challenge, but no penalty. Replays show that Clichy may have made contact with the Barcelona man, but it was minimal.


Spain with a shout for a penalty!

And we are underway...

We are just moments from kick off. Portugal and the talsimanic Christiano Ronaldo await the winners of this one.

The teams are in the tunnel at the Donbass Arena. France will be playing in their change strip of all-white. Spain are in their traditional red shirts and navy blue shorts.

Our referee tonight at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk is Italian Nicola Rizzoli.

Since their defeat by France at the 2006 World Cup, Spain have lost only 3 of 46 competitive matches, winning 40. They have gone 17 competitive games without a defeat, since losing to Switzerland at the 2010 World Cup.

France's confidence will have been dented after seeing their 23 match unbeaten run brought to an end against Sweden. History, however is on Laurent Blanc's side. The French have never lost a competitive match against their southern neighbours.

Spain's starting line-up is as follows; Iker Casillas (capt); Alvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso; David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta.

Fabregas will be flanked by Iniesta and David Silva, while central midfielder Xabi Alonso wins his 100th cap with La Roja.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has reverted to the attacking configuration deployed in the 1-1 draw against Italy, with Cesc Fabregas expected to play as a 'false nine' centre-forward after being selected ahead of Fernando Torres.

Here's the starting line-up for les Bleus: Hugo Lloris (capt); Anthony Reveillere, Adil Rami, Laurent Koscielny, Gael Clichy; Yohan Cabaye, Yann M'Vila, Florent Malouda; Mathieu Debuchy, Karim Benzema, Franck Ribery.

Florent Malouda also returns to the side in place of Alou Diarra, with Karim Benzema set to play as a lone striker against several of his Real Madrid team-mates. With Philippe Mexes suspended after being booked in the 2-0 loss to Sweden on Tuesday, Laurent Koscielny comes into the side at centre-back to make his first competitive appearance for France.

France manager Laurent Blanc has given his side a defensive overhaul, deploying a conservative 4-3-3 formation, with right-backs Anthony Reveillere and Mathieu Debuchy doubling up on the right flank to try to nullify the twin threat posed by Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba.

Spain have excelled in pressing the French high up the pitch. Del Bosque's boys have refused to allow France the time and space to build from the back.

The players are entering the pitch for the second half.

For the Spanish goal Alonso's run from midfield simply wasn't picked up. The French have played well defensively, but they cannot afford any more lapses in concentration if they are to avoid elimination.

And were at the break. 1-0 to Spain. What can Laurent Blanc do to help his side get back into the match in the second half? We will see.

It's Portugal vs Spain for a place in the final of EURO 2012. The semi-final line up will be completed tomorrow night with the winners of Italy vs England facing the might of Germany. Thanks for following AFP's coverage of France vs Spain. Goodnight.

Hello and welcome to AFP's coverage of the third Euro 2012 quarter-final between the holders Spain and France.

**Provisional teams until kick-off


  • Vicente Del Bosque Coach
  • Iker Casillas Goal
  • Alvaro Arbeloa Defender
  • Gerard Pique Defender
  • Sergio Ramos Defender
  • Jordi Alba Defender
  • Xavi Midfielder
  • Sergio Busquets Midfielder
  • Xabi Alonso Midfielder
  • David Silva Forward
  • Francesc Fabregas Forward
  • Andres Iniesta Forward
  • Victor Valdes Substitute
  • Jose Manuel Reina Substitute
  • Raul Albiol Substitute
  • Javi Martinez Substitute
  • Juanfran Substitute
  • Alvaro Negredo Substitute
  • Juan Manuel Mata Substitute
  • Fernando Llorente Substitute
  • Jesus Navas Substitute
  • Pedro
  • Fernando Torres
  • Santiago Cazorla


  • Laurent Blanc Coach
  • Hugo Lloris Goal
  • Anthony Reveillere Defender
  • Adil Rami Defender
  • Laurent Koscielny Defender
  • Gael Clichy Defender
  • Yohan Cabaye Midfielder
  • Yann Mvila Midfielder
  • Florent Malouda Midfielder
  • Matthieu Debuchy Forward
  • Karim Benzema Forward
  • Franck Ribery Forward
  • Steve Mandanda Substitute
  • Cedric Carrasso Substitute
  • Patrice Evra Substitute
  • Mathieu Valbuena Substitute
  • Blaise Matuidi Substitute
  • Alou Diarra Substitute
  • Marvin Martin Substitute
  • Hatem Ben Arfa Substitute
  • Samir Nasri Substitute who played
  • Olivier Giroud Substitute who played
  • Jeremy Menez Substitute who played

Match Report

Centurion Alonso sends Spain into Euro semi-finals
Spain moved a step closer to an unprecedented treble of consecutive major international honours by beating France 2-0 in Donetsk on Saturday to reach the Euro 2012 semi-finals.
Goals in each half from Xabi Alonso, on his 100th international appearance, sent the world and European champions into a semi-final with Iberian rivals Portugal in the same Donbass Arena stadium on Wednesday.
It was Spain's first competitive win in seven attempts against France, who were bidding to become the first team to eliminate Spain from a major tournament since the French side that reached the 2006 World Cup final.
While Spain can now contemplate the prospect of facing the in-form Cristiano Ronaldo, France return home after fulfilling their objective of reaching the last eight, only to fall short against the world's top national side.
In an attempt to nullify Spain's attacking threat, France coach Laurent Blanc opted for a conservative 4-5-1 formation, with right-back Mathieu Debuchy lining up in an unfamiliar right-wing role ahead of Anthony Reveillere.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, meanwhile, elected to deploy Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas instead of Fernando Torres at the centre of a fluid attacking configuration.
Abandoning their usual possession-focused approach, France retreated and allowed Spain to take the initiative, and Fabregas had an early penalty appeal turned down after his heels were clipped by Gael Clichy.
With two right-backs on the pitch, France's right flank should have been impregnable, but it was from a move down the left that Spain went ahead in the 14th minute.
Andres Iniesta released Jordi Alba and he held off the stumbling Debuchy to cross for the unmarked Alonso, whose downward header gave the number 14 a 14th international goal.
The lead established, Spain slipped into their familiar passing rhythm and France were left to rely on the forward forays of lone striker Karim Benzema.
One such raid drew a free-kick in an advantageous position, and Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas did well to touch Yohan Cabaye's subsequent attempt over the crossbar.
The low number of fans supporting the two teams made for a subdued atmosphere, while the closest Spain came to extending their lead before half-time was a Gerard Pique header that looped well over.
The start of the second half was similarly muted. Debuchy headed over from Franck Ribery's dinked cross, while Hugo Lloris had to race to the edge of his box to claw the ball away from Fabregas at the other end.
Blanc introduced Samir Nasri, Jeremy Menez and Olivier Giroud from the bench, but still the men in the all-white change strip were unable to capitalise on the promising openings they procured.
There were few scares for Spain in the final 10 minutes, and they made sure of victory in injury time when Alonso swept home a penalty after Reveillere had bundled substitute Pedro Rodriguez to the deck.
It will come as scant consolation to France, but they will not have long to wait for revenge.
The sides are due to meet again in a qualifying match for the 2014 World Cup in Spain on October 16.





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