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European Championships

Donbass Arena (ATT 46,145) 23rd June 2012 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: N Rizzoli

Spain Spain vs France France

Spain 2

X Alonso (19, pen 90+1)


France 0

Live Commentary

This article updates itself. There is no need to refresh this page. Last Updated at 10:36 pm, June 23rd 2012

  1. Full-time: That's it. The referee blows the whistle for full-time. France go out with a whimper, hardly creating a chance. Spain were comfortable - if not impressive - throughout. They will play Portugal in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

  2. 90+4

    Busquets plays in Torres and the Spain forward wins a corner.

  3. 90+3

    Ole football now. There will be four minutes of added time.

  4. 90+1

    Goal! Xabi Alonso scores again! Sends Lloris the wrong way from the spot and Spain are in the semi-finals.

  5. 90

    Penalty! Pedro with a stepover in the box and he is fouled by Reveillere.

  6. 89

    Torres trying to wriggle away from Koscielny but can get nowhere.

  7. 88

    Nasri takes and Rami wins the header, but it's a looping ball in and a looping header on goal. Out of play for a goal-kick.

  8. 87

    Final chance? Ribery wins a corner for France.

  9. 85

    Slack pass from Cabaye allows Spain to break but Torres misunderstands the run and loses the ball. It's not been the most impressive effort this from the Spanish but it looks likely to be enough.

  10. 84

    Cazorla comes on to replace Iniesta.

  11. 83

    Clichy crosses but there is only Giroud in the box and that's over him and into the hands of Casillas.

  12. 82

    Not looking particularly likely though. France have made the attacking changes but now they are struggling to get the ball.

  13. 80

    Alba charges through from left-back and slips Torres through but he is adjudged offside. That was very close but Lloris saved the shot anyway.

  14. 79

    Blanc's final throw of the dice. Giroud is on for M'Vila.

  15. 78

    But Spain take it short and continue to play keep-ball.

  16. 77

    Torres wins a corner.

  17. 76

    Menez is booked for dissent. He will miss the semi-final if France make it.

  18. 75

    France look to be running out of ideas. This time it is the long ball to Benzema and Menez commits the foul when trying to reach the knock down.

  19. 73

    Del Bosque's side appear happy to play on the break in these closing stages. France certainly seem to lack any kind of cutting edge.

  20. 72

    France keeping the ball but still looking for that opening. Spain content to allow the French to have it for now.

  21. 70

    Busquets guilty of overplaying and M'Vila finds Ribery in the left channel. The France winger's touch is poor at first but he catches up with the ball to cross to the near post where Casillas just gets a hand on it ahead of Benzema.

  22. 69

    Lovely piece of skill by Xavi as he flicks the ball forward and shoots on the half-volley but it is blocked. Then Pedro gets in behind the defence and the substitute nearly finds Torres at the near post only for Koscielny to block.

  23. 68

    First chance for Menez to run at Alba but the full-back does well and deals with the threat.

  24. 67

    Torres is on for Fabregas.

  25. 66

    Corner for Spain is taken by Xavi but eludes everyone.

  26. 65

    Pedro is coming on to replace Silva.

  27. 65

    Nasri replaces Malouda.

  28. 64

    Menez is on for Debuchy.

  29. 64

    Good work from Malouda and he squares the ball to Benzema. The Spanish defence back off but Benzema shoots wildly, high and wide. Poor effort.

  30. 62

    And then a reminder of the threat as Lloris has to come off his line smartly to deny Fabregas.

  31. 61

    Good attack from France down the left and Clichy, on the overlap, puts the ball in the box. It's bouncing around in the Spain box for what seems like an age before Del Bosque's men clear. The French asking some real questions now.

  32. 60

    Good play from Ribery and he buys a yard to cross right-footed from the left. He finds the head of Debuchy but it's nodded over.

  33. 59

    Chance for Spain on the break but it is spurned. The world and European champions a little sloppy at times here. They're happy to win this one 1-0 and move on to the semi-final.

  34. What changes would you make if you were Blanc? Let me know at or tweet me @GhostGoal.

  35. 58

    Corner for France. They need to make these opportunities count but Arbeloa heads away Ribery's ball in.

  36. 56

    Long period of possession from Spain with Iniesta to the fore. It's remarkable really but it happens so often you can become desensitised to it. Two minutes taken out of the game before Pique gives France the ball back.

  37. 54

    France putting a few tackles in now too. Signs that they are at least refusing to go out of this competition with a whimper.

  38. 52

    Finally Malouda shows a bit of drive and Benzema picks a great pass to get Ribery through. Ramos does just enough defensively to shepherd the ball out. Better again from France.

  39. 51

    Wonderful interchange of passes between Xavi and Iniesta before Alonso drills a long-range effort over the bar.

  40. 49

    France enjoying some possession but it's cagey stuff until Benzema and Debuchy do well to engineer space down the right. Alba closes the door as quickly as it opened and Debuchy commits the foul. Slightly more positive from Blanc's men.

  41. 48

    But that's a nice ball forward by Ribery for Malouda to run onto and France win a throw-in high up the pitch.

  42. 47

    Spain in possession as the pattern continues. Blanc will be expecting this but you sense he'd take 1-0 down with 20 minutes to go and then try to push late on. Don't expect him to go gung-ho just yet.

  43. 46

    Spain kick-off and the second half is underway.

  44. The replays of that Alonso goal don't do Malouda any favours. He didn't move a muscle as the Spain midfielder wandered 30 yards up the field to head home. Poor.

  45. Half-time: Spain keep the ball until the whistle blows, appropriately enough. It's been a controlled display from the champions. France have had as much of the ball as they would have anticipated but have failed to create a chance. Blanc will have to change this eventually but how long does he leave it?

  46. 45+1

    There will be one minute of added time.

  47. 45

    Xavi whips the free-kick in but doe't find a willing runner and Lloris safely claims.

  48. 44

    Spain playing keep-ball until Alba tries to inject a little urgency and is pulled back by Reveillere.

  49. 42

    Both players hit the deck but it's Cabaye who is booked for a foul on Busquets.

  50. 41

    Xavi crosses but the ball is cleared.

  51. 40

    Silva does well against Clichy on the right and wins a corner.

  52. 39

    Good possession by France without getting the ball close to Benzema.

  53. 38

    France are playing an active part in this game but they need to be more clinical in the opposition half. Here Malouda wastes possession when 40 yards out in a central position. Within a few seconds Iniesta is in behind their defence and winning a corner. The ball comes in from Xavi and finds Pique unmarked but he heads over.

  54. 37

    But two fouls by Spain there allow the game to become a little stop-start and that suits France for the moment as they break up the play. Clichy gets to the byline well but his cross is cleared.

  55. 35

    A couple of relative scares there for Spain so they seize back control of possession for a minute or two.

  56. 33

    Excellent skill by Ribery to eak past two defenders and jab a cross towards Benzema but the forward ha't read the pass and Casillas intercepts at the near post.

  57. 32

    Wonderful effort from Cabaye - curling free-kick towards the top corner but Casillas' starting position was excellent and he tips the ball over for a corner. The Spain captain then deals with the next deadball, claiming the cross at the second attempt.

  58. 31

    Ramos is booked for the foul.

  59. 31

    Benzema running at goal and flicks the ball over Ramos but is blocked and wins the free-kick.

  60. 30

    Xavi's corner is headed over by Fabregas.

  61. 29

    Malouda and Ribery are both robbed of the ball in quick succession and that allows Spain to break in numbers. Fabregas slides in Iniesta but his shot is deflected for a corner kick.

  62. 27

    Then Benzema holds the ball up well with his chest but squanders the ball when he receives the return ball from Debuchy. France have to be so good when they get the ball in the final third because you sense attacks let alone chances will be limited.

  63. 26

    But Benzema hits the shot high over the bar. No conviction whatsoever by the Real Madrid forward.

  64. 25

    Here is a chance for France though. Benzema wins a free-kick for a body-check by Alonso.

  65. 25

    Enjoying themselves now until Arbeloa is again caught offside. For a team with no out-and-out striker, Spain are getting plenty of bodies forward.

  66. 23

    Silva gets to the byline now but cannot find Fabregas with the cut back.

  67. 22

    Spain dominant in possession now. Their passing game can really punish you when you're already a goal down. The Ole chants are being belted out now in the Donbass Arena.

  68. Iniesta slips the ball in to Alba down the left. The left-back gets to the byline and finds Alonso in space at the far post. He heads the ball powerfully past Lloris and scores on his 100th appearance for Spain. Poor defending from France down their right side where they effectively have two right-backs. It wa't enough and now they are in big trouble as the game plan must go out the window.

  69. 19

    Goal! Xabi Alonso scores!

  70. 17

    Spain boxed in at the moment as France press high up the field. They are having more joy trying to build from the back than when Lloris pumps the ball up to Benzema.

  71. 15

    First real spell of possession from France on the 15 minute mark. More encouraging as Benzema and Ribery exchange passes.

  72. 14

    Silva finds himself in space on the right and with the chance to run at the France defence. He opts to play in Arbeloa but the full-back's driven cross eludes everyone.

  73. 13

    Another dismal long ball from France. They are struggling to get any kind of foothold in this game at the moment.

  74. 12

    A long period of Spain possession comes to an end when Fabregas delays his pass to Arbeloa and allows the Real Madrid full-back to be caught offside.

  75. 11

    Fabregas plays a nice ball out to Arbeloa on the right but his cross into the middle only finds Lloris.

  76. 9

    Lovely bit of skill by Ribery near the touchline. Another reminder for Spain that France can trouble them when they get the ball.

  77. 8

    Xabi Alonso goes for a trademark long-range effort from the halfway line but Lloris is wise to it and catches comfortably.

  78. 7

    Nothing in that penalty shout really, just an accidental coming together. Now Malouda wants a free-kick but play is waved on. The referee is letting this one flow.

  79. 6

    That's what Fabregas can do - come deep and link the play. He does just that with Iniesta but cannot get the return ball. Seconds later, Fabregas is through again and claims to have been hauled down by Clichy. The referee ignores the appeals but Fabregas is livid.

  80. 5

    Arbeloa feeds Silva in behind Clichy down the right flank but he checks the run and his infield pass is intercepted.

  81. 4

    First sign of a threat from France. Cabaye running at the Spain defence and he tries to thread in Benzema. The pass i't quite right and the tackle comes in, ricochets off the France forward and it's out for a Spain throw-in.

  82. 3

    Gorgeous diagonal pass by Xavi finds Arbeloa but when he finds Silva, the Man City man's control fails him and Spain lose possession.

  83. 2

    First pass in behind by Spain as Alba charges down the left but the ball is cleared by Rami.

  84. 1

    But it's not taken long for the expected pattern to emerge... Spain have the ball and they're stroking it around at the back.

  85. 1

    France kick-off and we're underway.

  86. Thanks for all your messages. The players are on their way out in Donetsk so we'll be underway with the live commentary after the anthems.

  87. Laurent Blanc was a little critical of England in the Group D opener for taking what he thought was a negative approach. But he's been preaching caution in this one. Mathieu Debuchy trades his usual right-back role for the right-midfield slot here.

  88. Divided opinion on Spain's formation. One thing we can say is that Del Bosque has options on the bench, but it does seem a little cautious. Most teams are happy with one playmaker not six! Would they be better served with an outlet for their passes in the form of a Pedro or a Navas out wide if not a central striker?

  89. A couple of you tipping Karim Benzema to score. It's not happened for him so far at this tournament. He has attempted 17 shots without scoring, the most of all players at Euro 2012 who are still waiting for their first strike.

  90. But obviously this is a different Spain outfit. Since losing 0-1 versus Switzerland at the 2010 World Cup, La Furia Roja have won 16 of their 17 competitive games (one draw, against Italy).

  91. Indeed, France have beaten Spain at two European Championship finals and have gone on to win the title on both occasions (1984 and 2000).

  92. Although France are underdogs, history is on their side as Spain have never beaten Les Bleus in a competitive game. The French have won five and drawn one of their six encounters.

  93. Our friends at Sky Bet make Spain 4/5 favourites to win in 90 minutes with France at 4/1. The draw is 12/5. In terms of qualifying for the semi-final, Spain are 4/11 and France 21/10.

  94. So Spain go with Cesc Fabregas as a 'false nine' once again with Fernando Torres back on the bench. Vicente Del Bosque's strategy appears to be to pass the opposition to death and then use the likes of Torres and Jesus Navas to stretch the game as it opens up. And who would bet against it working?

  95. Spain: Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Alba; Busquets, Alonso, Xavi; Iniesta, Silva, Fabregas.

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

  97. The teams are in and will be up shortly.

  98. If you would like to get in touch to share your thoughts and predictions on this evening's game, it would be good to hear from you. Feel free to email me at or send me a tweet at @GhostGoal.

  99. A semi-final against Portugal awaits the winner and, after topping Group C, Spain are hot favourites to make it an all-Iberian back at this same venue on Wednesday.

  100. Hello and welcome to our live commentary of the Euro 2012 quarter-final between Spain and France in Donetsk.

  101. Kick-off is 1945 BST.


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    Sat 23rd Jun - Quarter-Final


European Championships Group A

European Championships
Pos Team P Pts
1 Czech Republic 3 6
2 Greece 3 4
3 Russia 3 4
4 Poland 3 2

European Championships Group B

European Championships
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 3 9
2 Portugal 3 6
3 Denmark 3 3
4 Netherlands 3 0

European Championships Group C

European Championships
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 3 7
2 Italy 3 5
3 Croatia 3 4
4 Republic of Ireland 3 0

European Championships Group D

European Championships
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 3 7
2 France 3 4
3 Ukraine 3 3
4 Sweden 3 3