Ribery and Alonso in action
Here are my thoughts and observations from Spain's 2-0 victory over France in the quarterfinals of Euro 2012.
A typical Spanish victory
Maybe "typical" isn't the right word, but the Spaniards put in a workmanlike performance that shouldn't be considered "boring" by any stretch as they dominated against the French, pretty much limiting Laurent Blanc's squad to a handful of half chances. Although France inserted attackers such as Jeremy Menez and Samir Nasri, there was never really a serious sense they would equalize.
But an atypical Spanish first goal
Even if Spain's performance against les Bleus was nothing out of the ordinary, their first goal was a bit surprising. Instead of working the ball through the middle and creating something from there, the Spanish opened the scoring from work on the flanks. Jordi Alba's pinpoint cross found an unmarked Xabi Alonso (thanks to some not-so-great defensive work from Florent Malouda), whose header beat Hugo Lloris to put Spain on top.
Maybe Pedro should see some more action
Maybe it doesn't matter if Spain doesn't play with a forward up top because any forward or midfielder they insert often looks dangerous. The Barcelona midfielder Pedro hadn't seen any action in the first round, but had his moments shortly upon entering in the 64th minute. A dangerous crowd for Fernando Torres almost set him up for Torres' third goal of the tournament, and Pedro earned a stoppage time penalty that Xabi Alonso converted.
Good and bad from the French attack
Laurent Blanc had said beforehand that his team wouldn't have a lot of possession against Spain, so it was incumbent for his attack to create chances from the limited possession they would enjoy. Franck Ribery worked hard on the flanks, and launched some dangerous crosses. But Karim Benzema...non-existant. As were Menez and Nasri.