France had a cunning plan to
deny Spain but unfortunately it was ruined after less than 20
minutes and they lacked the sharpness to turn the situation
around in their Euro 2012 quarter-final on Saturday.
Coach Laurent Blanc fielded two right-backs with Anthony
Reveillere in the defensive position and Mathieu Debuchy higher
up the pitch to contain the threat of Andres Iniesta and Jordi
But Iniesta broke down the wing to feed Alba and Xabi Alonso
ran on to his cross to open the scoring with a downward header
in the 19th minute.
Alonso completed Spain's 2-0 win with a stoppage-time
"The plan was to reach half-time at 0-0," Blanc told a news
"We had analysed the Spanish line-up well because they had
two very strong players on the left but what is the most
frustrating thing is that we conceded the goal from that side,"
France were left chasing ghosts for the remainder of the
game and failed to turn their very few chances into goals.
"What I regret is that we conceded the goal early in the
game," said Blanc.
"But let's be realistic, Spain are a better team and
tonight's game proved it once again."
Blanc, however, waited until after the hour to make his
substitutions, with Samir Nasri and Jeremy Menez coming in for
Florent Malouda and Debuchy.
"We had very few chances. We could have taken more risks but
when you play against Spain, you run a lot and you lose your
lucidity," said centre back Laurent Koscielny.
"But we gave everything, everybody fought on the pitch."
But being 1-0 down against a team who dominate possession
makes it almost impossible to win, especially when you do not
have a killer instinct.
"Scoring two goals when you don't have the ball much is
really tough," said Blanc.
"On two or three occasions we had chances but we were a bit
France leave the tournament with one win, a draw and two
defeats. Although they made it to the knockout stages of a major
tournament for the first time since the 2006 World Cup, they
were never looked like beating Spain, rated as Euro 2012
favourites by Blanc.
"All the big nations will be in the semi-finals and
unfortunately we will not be there," said Blanc.
"Germany and Spain are the top favourites."
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