Spain coach Vicente del Bosque
hailed Xabi Alonso's role as an influential cog in a side
without a recognised striker after the midfielder's double
secured a 2-0 win over France and a place in the Euro 2012
Alonso, playing in his 100th international, headed in Jordi
Alba's cross for the opening goal after 19 minutes and clinched
victory for the holders with a stoppage time penalty.
Spain now face a mouthwatering semi-final with Iberian
neighbours Portugal in Donetsk on Wednesday.
"Xabi is a very good team player, he knows how to help on
the flanks. He is one of the attacking strengths we have but
overall it was the teamwork," Del Bosque told reporters after
Alonso's 14th and 15th goals in international football.
"I think Xabi scores a lot. If we talk about Xabi and [Sergio] Busquets I think they are not too defensive. They know
how to attack."
Spain fielded the same team that started against Italy in
their opening Group C game, meaning forward Fernando Torres was
on the bench.
Del Bosque's wisdom of playing without a designated centre
forward has been questioned in some quarters but the coach made
clear his reasoning for his striker-free selection.
"I don't think there is an absolute truth that playing with
a true forward gives you more depth, but we wanted to dominate
to have possession and create chances," he said.
Spain were too good for a meek French side, who offered
little hope that they could continue their mastery of the
Spaniards in competitive meetings having won five and drawn one
of their previous six encounters.
"I don't think it is an unfair result. We were in control
most of the time," said Del Bosque.
"We were strong on the left with Jordi and [Andres]
Iniesta, that's where the first goal came from. We played well
as a team and that's what caused France problems."
Del Bosque said Spain were at a "little disadvantage" with
Portugal having an extra two days rest to recuperate before the
semi-final after beating the Czech Republic on Thursday.
"We were tired at the end of the game but we will have to do
our best to rest as much as we can," he added.
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