‘Goal early on made it much easier for us’
SPANISH goal hero Xabi Alonso was delighted that his header had settled the team down on their way to a 2-0 win over France and a place in the Euro 2012 semi-finals.
“We knew this was the most important match and we played very well,” the Real Madrid midfielder said. “Scoring the early goal really made things easier, so I must say we’re happy.”
Spain’s first competitive win over France in seven attempts means they will now face Portugal on Wednesday in Donetsk as they bid for their third straight major championship.
France coach Laurent Blanc said: “When you lose a game there’s always something missing, I’m not sure if it’s possession or technical ability. The lads gave everything and it’s very hard to play against Spain.
“They were there for the taking,” Blanc added. “We knew we would get some chances, and the only thing I regret is that they scored off their first good chance. If we had gone in level at 0-0 at half-time, then I think we would have had more room in the second half.”
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque paid tribute to Alonso, saying: “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.”
Del Bosque added: “These types of games, in this type of competition, are always very tense, and you need to have the know-how to win them.”
Portugal striker Helder Postiga will miss the semi-final and the rest of Euro 2012 with a thigh strain sustained in the quarter-final win over the Czech Republic. Postiga, Portugal’s first-choice centre-forward, was carried off after pulling up late in the first half in Warsaw.
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