Boss hails Alonso 'sacrifice'

Del Bosque delighted after midfielder's brace downs French

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque hailed Xabi Alonso after his brace against France sent the defending champions into the semi-finals of Euro 2012.

The Real Madrid midfielder first scored with a thumping downward header in the 19th minute and then converted a penalty in injury-time to set up Wednesday's clash with Portugal.

The opening goal was the result of excellent one-touch football, a hallmark of Spain's play.

Andres Iniesta prodded the ball through for Jordi Alba, who whipped a perfect cross from the left to Alonso, who timed his run so well that no France counterpart picked him up.

Del Bosque said: "He knows how to sacrifice himself, help the team and where to play.

"He is one of the attacking strengths of ours. He knows how to create and finish."

Restricted

Despite not hitting their top form, Del Bosque was delighted with how his side restricted the French to just one shot on target.

"The truth is we did well and controlled the game," said Del Bosque. "Iker (Casillas) hardly had anything to do and that speaks of the good defensive performance of the team.

"If our defenders are good then we will be closer to winning the tournament because we will always create a chance."

Del Bosque voiced concerns about having less time off than Portugal ahead of Wednesday's semi-final, though, and hinted he could be forced to freshen his side up if the heat in Donetsk is as severe as it was on Saturday evening.

"We have two less days to rest than them and I am thinking about this," he said.

"It is a small handicap. We have arrived very drained because the heat we suffered tonight was cruel on the players."

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