Two goals from Xabi Alonso, making his 100th appearance for Spain, took his country to the last four in Euro 2012, with a comfortable 2-0 win over France.
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Video links are getting harder to find since UEFA appears to be cracking down on sites posting videos without permission. You can see a very short video featuring last night's goals at the UEFA site: http://uefa.to/MgaExE and there might still be a longer video up here: http://bit.ly/Mg9VfH I suggest you read the story first and try to imagine the goals and then watch them.
Spanish midfielderXabi Alonso (right) scores past Hugo Lloris (left) to put Spain 1-0 ahead against France in their Euro 2012 quarter-final in Donetsk. AFP
Xabi Alonso fires Spain to Euro 2012 semifinals
DONETSK: Spain on Saturday took a step closer to defending their European title, beating France for the first time in a major competition to secure a semifinal meeting with neighbours Portugal.
Two goals from Xabi Alonso, making his 100th appearance for Spain, took his country to the last four in Euro 2012, in a match that Vicente Del Bosque's side showed no signs of losing.
Alonso's first goal – his 14th at international level – came after he found himself unmarked at the back post, with Jordi Alba drawing the French defence too far across the line before delivering a deep cross.
A closer look at Alonso's first goal as he scores scores against French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and French defender Gael Clichy AFP
The Real Madrid midfielder then made it two from the penalty spot on 90 minutes after Anthony Reveillere bundled over Andres Iniesta.
A Yohan Cabaye free kick on 25 minutes was the closest Laurent Blanc's men came to scoring but Spain captain Iker Casillas was equal to the shot and turned the ball over for a corner from under his bar.
France's Yohan Cabaye (left) clashes with Spain's Sergio Busquets AFP
Spain's win ended a run in which they had failed to beat France in major competitions, with memories fresh of France's 2-0 win in the final of Euro 1984 and their 3-1 victory in the last 16 of the World Cup in 2006.
The European and world champions now meet Portugal on Wednesday, also in Donetsk, with all eyes on how Spain will deal with Real Madrid's star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who is coming to the boil with three goals in two games.
Xabi Alonso's penalty kick beat French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, the second of his two goals in Saturday's Euro quarter-final. AFP
The last quarterfinal of the competition sees England play Italy in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, with the winner going on to meet Germany in the semifinal in Warsaw, Poland, next Thursday.
England are currently on a five-match unbeaten run since Roy Hodgson took over as coach last month, fuelling genuine belief that the Three Lions could reach the semifinals of a major competition for the first time since Euro 96.
But Italy will be no push-overs. The two sides have played each other 22 times since 1933 and the Azzurri have the better record, with nine wins, six draws and seven defeats.
Their last meeting in the European championships was in 1980, when Italy won 1-0. They also ran out 2-1 winners in the third-place play-off of the 1990 World Cup.
But England captain Steven Gerrard said England were in a confident mood and had great team spirit, despite being written off coming into the tournament due to a long list of injuries. AFP
secure – to get or achieve something ได้รับ, ทำให้ได้ผล
semifinal (or semi-final) – one of the two games that are played immediately before the last game in a sports competition. The two people or teams who win the semifinals play each other in the last game, called the final, to decide who wins the competition การแข่งขันกีฬารอบรองชนะเลิศ
defend a title (championship) – to win a competition again after winning the previous time it was held ชนะอีกครั้งหลังจากชนะเลิศครั้งก่อน
neighbour – someone (or towns, cities, countries) who lives or is located near you เพื่อนบ้าน
appearance – an occasion when you participate in a competition การเข้าร่วม, การปรากฏตัว
sign – an event, an action, a fact, etc. that shows that something exists, is happening or may happen in the future สัญญาณ
unmarked – undefended, i.e., not having a player from the opposite team near ไม่มีใครปกป้อง
back post – far post; the goal post furthest away from a player controlling the ball (in this case Jordi Alba who made the cross)
cross – (in football) the action of kicking the ball from one side of the field to someone in the middle or on the other side เตะบอลขวางสนาม
bundle – to push or send somebody somewhere quickly and not carefully
corner – (in sports) a free kick or hit that you take from the corner of your opponent's end of the field การเตะมุม
(cross)bar – a horizontal bar that forms the top of a goal คานประตู
run – a period of something good or bad happening; a series of successes or failures ช่วงเวลา
deal with – to take action to solve a problem รับมือกับ, จัดการกับ
boil – to heat a liquid to the point where it forms bubbles and turns to steam or vapour ทำให้เดือด
come to the boil – to begin to perform at the highest level; to start to be very successful ริ่มประสบความสำเร็จมาก
quarterfinal (or quarter-final) – a competition between two of the last eight competitors remaining in a tournament การแข่งขันก่อนรอบบรองชนะเลิศ
capital – the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from เมืองหลวง
currently – at this time; now ในปัจจุบัน
unbeaten – not having lost in a single competition ไม่เคยแพ้
fuel – to cause something to happen; to make something stronger ก่อให้เกิด
genuine – real; honest แท้
push-over (or push-over) –a person, team, group, etc. who is easy to defeat or to persuade or influence คนที่พ่ายแพ้ได้ง่าย
draw – a game that ends with both teams or players having the same number of points เสมอกัน
defeat – a loss in a competition ความพ่ายแพ้
play-off – a match/game, or a series of them, between two players or teams with equal points or scores to decide who the winner is การแข่งขันชิงตำแหน่งชนะเลิศ
confident – certain; having trust in people, plans, or the future มั่นใจ
mood – the way you feel at a particular time อารมณ์
write off – to decide that someone or something will not succeed and so to stop giving them your attention and energy ตระหนักดีว่า (บางคนหรือบางสิ่ง) ไม่เหมาะสมสำหรับหรือจะไม่ประสบความสำเร็จ
due to – because of เนื่องจาก
injury – physical damage done to a person or a part of their body อาการบาดเจ็บ