• Sunday, 24 June 2012

    Yesterday at the Euros #15

    There has been an amount of criticism of Spain at these championships. Vincente del Bosque's strikerless approach and possession-based game has even been criticised as boring, which is just plain bizarre. Yes it's unconventional, they are missing David Villa and maybe del Bosque isn't quite using all the options available to him, but he keeps winning games and isn't that what really matters?

    Spain were in control from the off against France who were disappointing. If the object was to hold the Spanish for as long as possible and work into the game that way, it didn't work as Xabi Alonso, on his 100th appearance for his country, arrived late and unmarked in the box to head in Jordi Alba's cross. It's rare these days to see Alonso that far forward, but it was a well-timed run that France totally failed to deal with.

    That left France with 70 minutes to get back on terms, but they didn't really threaten to do that. Anthony Reveillere was included at right-back with Mathieu Debuchy pushed forward as Samir Nasri was dropped. It didn't work. Eventually, Laurent Blanc put Jeremy Menez on for Debuchy, but still it didn't work. It was just a question of whether Spain would add to their lead. They did eventually as Reveillere bundled Pedro over and Alonso put the penalty away in emphatic style. It was a bit of a soft penalty decision, but it was clumsy by Reveillere after Pedro had stood up Adil Rami.

    And still you get the feeling Spain can play better, which must be a worry for everyone else. They have set up an Iberian derby in the semi-finals on Wednesday in Donetsk.

    The last of the quarters is tonight, England and Italy meeting with the winners playing Germany.

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