The Back of the Net team report on Spain's 2-0 Euro 2012 quarterfinal win over France
Spain eased into the semi-finals with a 2-0 win over a French side that wasnÃ¢ÂÂt present for the first half and failed to turn up for the second half.
French boss Laurent Blanc had voiced concerns about which French side would turn up after an inconsistent competition that had seen Les Bleus impress against England and Ukraine but roll over against Sweden. Blanc neednÃ¢ÂÂt have worried as neither side turned up to face Spain.
The French side were held up by a disagreement between older and younger players over the quickest route to the Donbass Arena, with Samir Nasri insisting the best way would be through the centre via UniversytetsÃ¢ÂÂka Street, and Karim Benzema maintaining that a better route would be exactly the opposite to whatever Nasri said.
Spain enjoyed the better of the early exchanges against the 0-man French team, taking advantage of the space that FranceÃ¢ÂÂs 0-0-0 formation allowed them.
After 20 minutes, Xabi Alonso put the World Champions ahead when he jumped high above where Gael Clichy would have been to head home a Jordi Alba cross, giving Hugo Lloris, who was sitting in a coach four miles away, no chance whatsoever.
The arrival of the French players at half-time had little impact on Spain, who continued to stroke the ball around nonchalantly as Les Bleus sulkily hacked at shadows and muttered odd, guttural obscenities at each other.
In the final minute, Anthony Reveillere brought down Pedro and Alonso buried the penalty to put the result beyond doubt, leaving French boss Blanc to rue a disappointing end to FranceÃ¢ÂÂs Euro 2012 campaign.
Ã¢ÂÂI felt we were lucky to get in to the break at just 1-0 down, given that we hadnÃ¢ÂÂt turned up at all,Ã¢ÂÂ Blanc told FourFourTwo.com. Ã¢ÂÂBut sadly the players just didnÃ¢ÂÂt show up once we had actually shown up for the second half.
Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs hard to believe but it seems like a French side has failed to live up to its vast potential for largely non-footballing reasons.Ã¢ÂÂ
More match reports from Back of the Net:
GER 4-2 GRE: Germany put long-suffering fans through slight discomfort
POR 1-0 CZE: Ronaldo: "Ronaldo? Ronaldo, Ronaldo. Ronaldo!"
UKR 0-1 ENG: Oddly apportioned karmic refund sees England through
SWE 2-0 FRA: Sweden march on, out
ITA 2-0 IRL: Italy live to use another clichÃÂ©
CRO 0-1 SPA: Spain no longer any good, pundits reveal
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