EURO 2012 LIVE: Spain vs. France

Associated Press Modified: June 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm •  Published: June 23, 2012
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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — It's Spain versus France for a place in the European Championship semifinals on Saturday — the most anticipated match of the tournament so far. Here you'll find the best of Saturday's action and pre-match buildup. All times are Polish.

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2232: GOAL! Spain 2, France 0 (Alonso)

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2230: Penalty for Spain!

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2225: Santi Cazorla is coming on for the final few minutes for Spain, and Andres Iniesta is making way. This is very easy for the Spanish. France is offering precious little going forward.

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2217: France throws on striker Olivier Giroud for defensive midfielder Yann M'Vila in search of the equalizer. Spain is passing the ball around very comfortably, with a little over 10 minutes left for the team to see out. Debuchy's header aside, France has given the defending champions nothing to be concerned about this evening.

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2212: Ribery breaks down the left for France and is ushered into the left-hand corner of the penalty area by a number of Spain defenders. He pulls out a low cross at the last minute into the path of Benzema, but Casillas reads the danger well and claims the ball. It's still 1-0 to Spain with 19 minutes remaining.

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2206: What a pass from Xavi and it takes a great reaction stop from Lloris to prevent his side from being 2-0 down. Fabregas runs onto an exquisite through-ball by his Barcelona teammate and tries to take the ball past the onrushing Lloris with his first touch, but the goalkeeper gets down quickly to block. Torres and Pedro comes on for Fabregas and Silva for Spain.

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2200: Debuchy heads just over for France, which has seen a bit more of the ball in the last few minutes. Spain, however, is on course to record its first ever competitive victory over France and set up a semifinal meeting with Portugal back here in Donetsk.

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2154: Xabi Alonso's goal was his 14th for Spain and he just tried to make it 15, but an effort from long range flies high and wide. In the early stages, Spain has slotted straight back into its trademark passing routine.

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2147: Second half is under way. No changes by either coach.

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2135: Spain deserves its halftime lead and have hardly been troubled by the French, who will have to take a few more chances in the second half. Will Blanc make any changes at halftime? Maybe it's time for Samir Nasri.

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2132: Halftime: Spain 1, France 0.

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2125: Pique could easily have made it 2-0. The center back gets himself into space for a free header from a corner but his attempt from 10 meters goes over the bar. Ribery has a rip down the side of his shirt as he trudges back upfield after that corner. He's not seen much of the ball tonight as he goes in search of a first goal at Euro 2012.

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2119: That's 30 minutes gone and it's 1-0 to Spain. Sergio Ramos is shown a yellow card for blocking off Benzema and Cabaye takes the free kick, which is aiming for the top corner until Casillas tips the ball over the bar.

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2112: The question is, what was Alonso doing up there? He normally stations himself in front of the back four, distributing the ball.

Xavi tries his luck with a shot on the bounce from outside the penalty area, but he gets underneath the ball and it sails over the bar. France has hardly had the ball in the last 10 minutes and it's looking ominous already.

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2107: What a header that is from Alonso — and what a way to celebrate making your 100th cap! Iniesta pokes the ball behind Reveillere and into the path of Alba, who is racing forward from left back. Alba delivers a perfect cross to the back post for the unmarked Alonso, who plants a header into the ground and past Lloris.

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2103: GOAL! Spain 1, France 0 (Xabi Alonso)

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2057: (at)jeromepugmire: Quite a few empty seats in both Spanish and French ends. Perhaps inflated hotel prices put them off when tickets first went on sale. (via Twitter)

Xabi Alonso shoots from inside his own half and it requires Lloris to take the catch or that would have found the net. Good effort from Alonso, who has a history of scoring from inside his own half from his days at Liverpool. Quite an even start here, although Spain has had more possession. No surprise there.

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2051: (at)PaulLogoAP: While Casillas makes his 135th appearance for Spain, (at)XabiAlonso becomes 5th Spanish player with 100 caps against France (via Twitter)

Fabregas appeals for a penalty after clashing with Clichy but the referee waves play on. Seen them given, although he went down easily there.

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2046: France kicks off in front of many empty seats at the Donbass Arena.

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2042: (at)jeromepugmire Zidane and Vieira's birthday today — they both scored the last time France knocked Spain out of a tournament, in last 16 of 2006 World Cup. (via Twitter)