domingo, 24 de junio de 2012

Match Review Spain - France 2:0

Both teams came out on the field with ‘cautious’ squads: French, for instance, left Samir Nasri on the bench, and Spaniards… decided to do without forwards at all. Without nominal, of course. Cesc Fàbregas had to play on attacking position, but during the game we could see that three-four midfielders stood in line on Spaniards’ front line, and there was no one on the edge…
Anticipating things, we shall say that this cautiousness turned to be justified: neither team ‘hang’ on other team’s goal until the match passed to dramatic phase (‘either we score, or we’re knocked out from Euro- 2012’). From the very starting whistle, Spain, according to its status (or maybe out of habit?), occupied French side of the field, but it wasn’t easy to approach Lloris’s goal – defenders thoughtfully covered all zones. French, on the other hand, lacked not attacking players, but rather attacking idea on the front edge. Therefore, the ‘three-colored’ sought their luck in free and far kicks.
But once, on the 19th minute, Spaniards managed to break through French defense. And, interestingly enough, French’s failure was complete. It was vividly justified by Xabi Alonso who lonely ran into penalty area. And one more vivid evidence was the goal scored by Xabi Alonso. Thus, Jordi Alba darted to the penalty area along the left flank, the French defender fell on the lawn, opening the ‘entrance’ to the area. Alba made a deep cross to the mentioned above lonely Xabi Alonso. And the latter was ready to receive the ball. There were plenty of variants to continue the attack: let the ball down and kick, kick the ball in flight… The Spaniard chose, however, the most unusual for him way. He boldly jumped to the ball and headed it to the far corner – against defender’s and Lloris’s motion, who intended to cover the near corner. Therefore, both lacked few centimeters to reach the ball, and the defender seemed to close the ball from keeper’s sight, at that. Spain took the lead. By the way, it was Alonso’s 100th appearance in national team.
The French had a chance to answer from the free kick on the 30th minute. The free kicks’ expert Cabaye didn’t let the team down this time. He kicked from around 28 meters accurately in the near upper corner. But, for each kicks’ expert there is a saves’ expert. Iker Casillas made a save and sent the ball to the corner. During the corner kick, the keeper had almost made his efforts null and void by letting the ball from his hands. However, he timely covered it on the ground.
On the 63d minute, when the French didn’t mind defense at all (2 minutes before Laurent Blanc let two forwards out), Spaniards created a perfect moment. Silva ‘cut through’ French defense with a cross and put Fàbregas one to one with keeper in the semi-circle by the penalty area. But, Lloris darted to the ball, courageously thrown himself to Spaniard’s feet and sent the ball in field.
In remaining time, the teams exchanged several bright, but unproductive attacks. Spaniards continued to control the game, though.
And on the last minute, Spaniards received a right for penalty – Pedro, who overplayed ‘three-colored’ defense, was ready for a kick, but Anthony Réveillère ran into his leg. It’s definitely a penalty. Xavi Alonso, who had already scored in this match, approached the penalty spot. And he slammed into the left corner, burying France’s hopes to come from behind on the last seconds. Spain is heading for the semi-final with Portugal, France packs its stuff. It’s all we can say.

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