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Euro Cup 2012: Spain vs France - as it happened

Nishad Vellur

FULL-TIME: SPAIN beat FRANCE 2-0

Donetsk (Ukraine): Defending champions Spain defeated France 2-0 to advance to the semi-finals of the Euro 2012 on Saturday.

Match report » I Spain vs France: In pics »

Xabi Alonso scored both the goals to set up a last-four clash with Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal.

Spain went ahead in the 19-minute through Xabi, who was fed by Jordi Alba with a perfect cross from the left. Xabi headed it past Hugo Lloris. The Real Madrid midfielder converted a penalty in the 91st min to take his tally to two in his 100th international appearance.

France, who were only one goal down until the 90th min, failed to display fighting spirit which could have earned them an equaliser against a dominant Spain. Instead, they conceded a penalty at the death to make any chance of an equaliser out of reach.

As it happened..

GOAL!!! GOAL!!! GOAL!!! GOAL!!! GOAL!!! GOAL!!!

90+1 min: Xabi Alonso (Spain) scores from the penalty spot. He slammed it into the left corner while Lloris moved to the right.

90 min: Penalty awarded to Spain for a Réveillère (France) foul on Pedro Rodríguez (Spain). Xabi to take the kick.

88 min: Corner to France.

84 min: Iniesta (Spain) replaced by Cazorla.

82 min: Less than ten mins left. France yet to find an equaliser but pressing hard for it.

79 min:Giroud replaces M'Vila for France.

76 min: Yellow for Menez as he asked for it. Ménez (France) complained after the referee awarded Spain a free-kick for a foul on Jordi Alba.

75 min: Squeaky bum time for Blanc and France.

71 min: Iker makes a save.

69 min: Spain came close to scoring. Pedro (Spain) created a chance with a cross towards Torres. But Koscielny defended well.

67 min: Torres takes Fabregas' place.

65 min: Two changes for France Nasri in for Malouda. Ménez in for Debuchy. For Spain Silva makes way for Pedro Rodríguez.

62 min: Lloris makes a good save. French GK stopped a speeding Fabregas with a sliding effort in the edge of the area.

60 min: Debuchy header little over the crossbar from a Ribery cross from the left. Decent header but missed the target.

58 min: Pique (Spain) concedes a corner.

54 min: Free kick to Spain for a Debuchy (France) challenge on Jordi Alba.

52 min: France looking good on the right.

50 min: Cabaye lost control inside the Spain area after some good work on the right.

47 min: Xabi goes for a long pass from deep left, but finds no taker up front for the cross.

46 min: Free kick for Spain.

Half-time: Xabi Alonso gave Spain the lead on his 100th international appearance with a 19th minute header as the defending champions dominated the first half against France.

First half saw Spain's possession upto 60% with 6 attempts on target whereas the French had 2.
45 min: 1 minute added time.

44 min: Free kick to Spain.

42 min: Yellow for Cabaye for a challenge on Ramos.

38 min: Corner for Spain. Unmarked Pique goes for a header but far from perfect.

36 min: Alba warned for a challenge. Free kick to French.

32 min: Cabaye nearly scored from the subsequent free kick from 25 metres only to be denied by Iker.

31 min: Yellow for Ramos for a challenge on Benzema. Free kick to France.

29 min: Iniesta shot deflected off a French defender inside the area. Corner to Spain.

27 min: Tiki taka on play inside French half.

25 min: Free kick for France. Benzema to take the kick. Shot over the bar.

24 min: Free kick for Spain following a Rami challenge on Fàbregas.

22 min: Silva attack from the right flank found no taker for his cross into the area.

GOAL!!! GOAL!!! GOAL!!! GOAL!!! GOAL!!! GOAL!!!

19 min: GOAL!! Xabi Alonso finds the breakthrough with a beautiful header well assissted by Jordi Alba from the left.

17 min: Fabregas offside.

16 min: French attack fizzled out inside the a crowded Spain area.

13 min: Free kick for France after a Xavi challenge on Rami.

10 min: Lloris (France) makes a save.

6 min: Fabregas appealing for a penalty for a Clichy challenge inside the box. No says referee.

5 min: Attack through the right by Silva but France defended well outside the box.

2 min: Alba tries for an early attack through left flank. Rami thwarted the effort, throw-in for Spain.

1 min:Match underway between Spain and France.

Welcome to our live coverage of the Euro 2012 quarter-final match between Spain and France on Saturday at the Donbass Arena, Donetsk.

Line-up: Spain: Casillas, Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Alba; Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Xavi; Iniesta, Silva, Fabregas.

Bench: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Pedro, Torres, Negredo, Mata, Llorente, Santi Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Reina.

France: Lloris, Reveillere, Rami, Koscielny, Clichy; Debuchy, M'Vila, Cabaye, Malouda, Ribery; Benzema.

Bench: Mandanda, Evra, Valbuena, Giroud, Nasri, Matuidi, Menez, Diarra, Martin, Ben Arfa, Carrasso.

• In case you missed last night’s second quarter-final match, read: Germany vs Greece - As it happened»

• Check out our Gallery on Fans@Euro »

Preview

Defending champions Spain had a tough time facing Croatia in their last group fixture before Jesus Navas’ intervention late in the second half to give them a 1-0 win. However, that result put them on top of the group.

Meanwhile, France go into the quarterfinals after a 0-2 loss against Sweden which ended a 23-match unbeaten run.

Going by the past records, France hold an edge as they are yet to be beaten by the current World Champions in a competitive fixture. Notable among them came in the UEFA European Championship final of 1984 and the quarter-finals in 2000, when Laurent Blanc was in the France team.

However, the French coach Laurent Blanc knows past records hold no water as his side should come all out against a record-chasing Spanish side if they were to advance any further in the tournament.

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