BotN: Spain joy as Alonso wins Golden Beard

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The Back of the Net boys file their final report: Spain 4-0 Italy

Spain added yet another title to their bulging trophy cabinet, players and fans erupting in joy as midfield stalwart Xabi Alonso was awarded the coveted Golden Beard.

Alonso was expected to face a stern challenge from Italy’s Daniele De Rossi, who has won Serie A’s coveted Beard of the Year prize three years running, and who recently made headlines by endorsing a leading brand of muttonchop combs.

But when they finally went head to head in Sunday night’s hotly-anticipated beard-off, the Italian’s facial thatch was oddly lacklustre and dull, allowing the Real Madrid man to romp home with the gong by four Darwin Points to nil.

“It’s great to win it,” said Alonso of the Golden Beard, which was cast in 1979 from a mould of Paul Breitner’s face and jaw, and whose previous holders include Trifon Ivanov, Socrates and Olof Mellberg.

“But I couldn’t have done it without the lads. Cesc Fabregas lathers it up, Raul Albiol combs it out, and Sergio Busquets rubs a soothing, lavender-based lotion into my follicles. A beard as lovely as this, I wouldn’t trust anyone else to touch it.

“We were expecting more from De Rossi, but you can’t afford to not use conditioner at this level.”

"It is rather lovely, isn't it?"

To cap a perfect night for Spain, manager Vicente Del Bosque was presented with the Platinum Moustache award, an honour that came as no surprise to Alonso.

“No-one deserves it more,” said the ex-Liverpool man. “The boss’ soup-strainer is an inspiration to us all. He’ll be delighted, though you wouldn’t know. His upper lip is too heavy for him to alter his expression.”

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ITA 0-0 ENG: England lament justice of penalty shoot-out
ESP 2-0 FRA: France fail to turn up, turn up, fail to turn up, lose
GER 4-2 GRE: Germany put long-suffering fans through slight discomfort
POR 1-0 CZE: Ronaldo: "Ronaldo? Ronaldo, Ronaldo. Ronaldo!"