France went out of the Euro 2012 tournament tonight, and with them Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye and Ben Arfa, as they went down to reigning Champions Spain by 2-0.
Xabi Alanso heads in Spain’s first goal after 19 minutes
This was the first time that Spain had ever beaten France in a major tournament, and for France, after going 23 games without a defeat, they have now lost both their last two games by 2-0. Funny how that seems to happen once an unbeaten run is broken.
It was a fairly easy win for Spain tonight, and they played a lot better than in their last game, and it was two goals from former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alanso, that made the win possible.
His first goal came from an attack on the wing – which is a rare occurrence for Spain – and it was young left back Jordi (was he born in Newcastle?) Alba who got past Mathieu Debuchy down the left wing, before putting over a great cross that Alonso headed home in the exact right spot, and away from France goalkeeper Lloris – and Xabi was completely unmarked.
And then Alonso completed the scoring in stoppage time when he took a penalty, probably because it was his 100th cap for Spain, and the midfielder beat Lloris easily.
France came closest to scoring in this game when Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye hit a great free-kick from just outside the peanlty area in the first half, that Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas did well to claw away for a corner, and the attempt was reminiscent of Yohans’ great goal against Manchester United in Janauary.
Cesc Fabregas just fails to roundHugo Lloris
Ben Arfa didn’t see any action in this game, and we half expected that, and Mathieu Debuchy was also substituted in the seocnd half, having surprisingly started the game out on the right wing, where he has played a few times for Lille last season.
And the Newcastle target has not played as well in the last two games as he did in the first two group games, and that may even may be a help, in bringing the Frenchman to Newcastle this summer.
France tried hard to come back in the second half, but Spain were just too good for them on the night.
England now play Italy tomorrow in the remaining quarter final, and we have to hope for an England win, which is not beyond the realm of possibility.