* Thanks to Philine for the quote!
Spain played France in the quarterfinals of Euro 2012, and this game marked Xabi Alonso’s 100th cap for La Roja. Interestingly enough, Spain had never won over France in a competitive match, while no player from Spain has lost in his 100th game for country.
Coming into this match, Spain has had to face criticism that it was a boring side—passing to death. Here’s what I know, having watched this team for years: tiqui-taca is not just a combination of multiple passes to get to the goal. It is effective in breaking down their opponents—and this is why this Spain squad are the World Champions after all.
That said, France did not look to attack, and Spain, until the 90th minute, was just comfortable in protecting a 1-0 lead. The opening goal? Of course, it came from a Xabi Alonso header on the 19th minute.
Señor Alonso would further seal the deal for Spain with a clinical penalty kick at the dying minutes of the match.
Señor Alonso also had superb passing statistics in this match, and quite frankly, this was one of the matches were he was the most influential player around. Sure, he plays the holding/central midfield role of Spain, but look at him as a viable attacking option.
Rightfully named the Man of the Match—as well as Man of My Life. Hohoho.