Busquets, contra França. FOTO: CARMELO RUBIO-RFEF.

Del Bosque made his side’s intentions clear from the off, banking on a Barça dominated midfield to control possession and limit France’s options, with Cesc preferred nominally up front instead of a more traditional number 9 like Torres and Spain soon settled down to a comfortable slice of possession, with Cesc denied an early penalty when he went down in the box after a clever through ball from Xavi.

Alonso opener

As Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta and Cesc, aided by Xabi Alonso and Silva, gave a masterclass in holding onto the ball, a goal seemed inevitable and it came on 19 minutes when Iniesta put Jordi Alba free down the left and the Catalan’s cross to the back post was headed home by an unmarked Xabi Alonso

After 35 minutes, a great move between Cesc and Iniesta saw a beautiful chip from the Catalan nearly putting Iniesta through and then a free header from the resulting corner was headed over by Piqué.

Pedro on in second half

After the break, France upped their game a little, but there was no way through for Laurent Blanc’s team. Cesc was replaced by Torres, Iniesta also came off for Cazorla and Pedro replaced Silva as Del Bosque rang the changes and the Barça winger forced a late penalty which Xabi Alonso slotted home to round off a comfortable win for Spain, who will now meet Portugal in the semi finals.

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