Spain defeated France 2-0 to advance to the semifinals of Euro 2012 thanks to a brace from Xabi Alonso. Most games improve with early goals. Not Spanish ones. It was clear from the outset that the only real chance France had was to hold their illustrious opposition scoreless. After they failed to contain Jordi Alba's burst down the left flank and Alonso's subsequent far-post run, which resulted in a lovely headed finish past Hugo Lloris, it never really looked like they were going to be able to come back.
They weren't. Although they did come out with a more positive attitude in the second half, introducing the likes of Olivier Giroud, Samir Nasri and Jeremy Menez in order to push Spain deeper, Iker Casillas' goal was never under serious threat. The only strike of particular quality he had to stop was a long-range free kick from Yohan Cabaye in the early stages. France's inability to put their opponents under siege meant that, despite only holding a one-goal lead for most of the match, there was never any tension.
And then in injury time any hope of the match becoming interesting burst like a sad balloon when Anthony Reveillere bundled over Pedro in the penalty area. Alonso stepped up to the spot and swept home to complete the victory, as Spain become the first defending champions to reach the semifinals since Holland in 1992. They'll play Portugal on Wednesday.
So, yeah, it wasn't a great game. Not that anyone was expecting one. Bring on England vs. Italy, which is expected to be a not-great game in a completely different way!