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Euro 2012 Quarterfinal: Spain vs. France (Your Running Commentary)

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Defending Champion Spain takes on France today in Donetsk, Ukraine in one of the most anticipated match-ups of the European Championship quarterfinals (2:45pm, ESPN2).

The Spanish will look to improve on their form in the group stage, which saw the champions struggle to generate goals they way they were expected to. For France, some internal strife has created a cloud of controversy around a team that comes into the quarters having lost to Sweden in its final group stage match.

History is on France's side. 'Les Bleus' have never lost to Spain in tourament play before, but this Spain side is stronger than the one beaten by France in the 2006 World Cup.

Spain are trotting out their "no forward' system again, with Cesc Fabregas starting in place of Fernando Torres. France is fielding a defensive-minded lineup, with Samir Nasri on the bench for today's quarterfinal.

If you will be watching today's match, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action.


  1. Of course the US COULD have beaten Spain the other night. They can beat anyone on a given night.

    Actually doing it is another story.

    As for Del Bosque needing to develop some big ones, it takes a lot of cojones to NOT start a nominal striker. Fabregas may be the weak link at Barca but he is doing just fine for Spain. Spain is doing what all great teams do, getting results without playing well and getting better as they go along.

    As for France not trying, Spain tend to make a lot of good teams look ordinary because they are a better TEAM than everyone. It’s not about individuals with them.

    France is a collection of talented individuals but on the field it seems they need someone to take the lead, make them work together and none of these guys is “the man” right now. They are not yet enough of a TEAM to beat Spain who by the way, are where they are for a reason.

  2. Good point. I was thinking the same thing. I honestly think the USMNT could have beaten Spain last night. The Spain starting line-up sukked and Germany, Italy or Portugal (and possible England) would have made Del Bosque pay for his folly. I agree with those who think it was one of the more boring games ever. That said, lucky for Span that France turned out to be a paper tiger and the bust-up in the locker room shows that Blanc did not have things under control and needs to go. I mean, geez, Ben Arfa, who had a brilliant season for Newcastle did not even so the field even though Benzema and Ribery, both great players, were not clicking together at all. And to bench Nasri in knock-out round game. Ridiculous, and you could tell when Nari was finally introduced the whole mess had gotten to him.

    I am not a big fan of Fabregas, think he is one of the weakest links at Barcelona. I thought Spain really came to life when Pedro was inserted into the game, followed by Torres. And then the crowning touch: Cazorla. I don’t think Spain will beat Portugal unless Del Bosque grows some big ones and shakes things up big time and injects some fresh blood into the starting line-up, which Low (unbelievably) had the courage to do in a big way in the Germany-Greece match, pulling Podolski, Gomez and Muller and starting instead (the absolutely awesome) Marco Reus, (the still dangerous) Klose, and Schurrle (who turned out to be a jittery nervous flop).

    Pedro proved last night he should start against Portugal and up top Del Bosque needs to start either Torres or Llorente. Xabi also did not look so effective last night to me, maybe time for Juan Mata.

  3. “How pretencious of Spain to play without a forward.”


    Who is a better soccer player right now Fabregas or Torres?

    I haven’t seen the other Spanish strikers but just because Fabregas is called a midfielder it doesn’t mean he can’t play striker.

    I would remind you that Clint Dempsey is a midfielder. Fabregas can play striker for me anytime.

  4. In four consecutive tournaments up to now, in the knockout games, only two players in the world have been able to score a single goal against Spain. Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey.

  5. It really looked to me like the french didn’t care all that much. Where was the urgency? Just a halfhearted effort in my opinion. How can you NOT go all out for your country in a euro quarterfinal? One thing I love about the US team is they always play with passion, always go hard.

  6. One of the most boring games of football I’ve seen in the past decade. How pretencious of Spain to play without a forward. Too bad France didn’t just go for it.

  7. This French team has an awful lot of talent. Probably almost as much as Spain. And given that they should not be giving the Spanish so much respect.

    Of course this is what happens; Spain are so deadly with the ball that they make a lot of teams hesitant.

    If the French had a guy like Zidane, a leader who would actually force them to attack, it would be better for them.

  8. Two comments about Spain:

    1). Unlike Barca in the Champions league semi-final, they had a Plan B in addition to the short-pass-up-the-middle game. Several times they sent in centering passes from the corners to good effect (e.g. the first goal).

    2). I thought they looked really good on defense. They really pressured the ball when France had possession.

  9. How funny was it when Ballack was asked about Spain’s dominance and he said “I can’t wait for the Germany game.”. !!!

  10. Pedro and Cazorla make it happen and Xabi Alonso finishes from the spot

    great ball thru supported by a wonderful freezing step over to create the PK

    Spain will move on

  11. Spain is the sleeper hold of world football when they score an early goal. Painful to watch against a team that cannot run a counter. France has tried to imitate but does not have the skill.

    Germany and Portugal have been much more fun to watch.

  12. Of the quarterfinal games, I thought this might be the one where we would see some attractive soccer. What a disappointment.

  13. what a wicked ball from Xavi on that corner, allowed to bounce in the box, a lethal thru ball earlier almost unlocking Lloris

    he’s got to be my favorite player Xavi

  14. yep, but it was a French midfielder who lost Alonso on his move and never reacted but instead just stood there watching the entire run

  15. one thing about Spain is that they have not looked to counter, not with this lineup/formation del Bosque is favoring, not that they look to counter anyway

  16. I wish people would stop saying “play the Chelsea way” as if it was good play. Hoping the other team can’t finish any of the 30 shots they get is not good play its just luck.

  17. Why would France leave out Nasri and Menez? You’re playing spain, might as well put out your best 11 and give it your best shot, not try to get cute with tactics. But then sometimes it works, like Chelsea v Barca.

  18. the space for France is up the wings and on the counter so far…maybe they can pick a cross and find Benzema for a header? hard to see other ways thru for them after 40 minutes unless other players are brought on

    Spain doing what they do

  19. Cabaye upper 90 saved by Casillas, then a Casillas bobble on his 6 during the ensuing corner

    France has found some space but no final ball

  20. Xabi Alonso’s run to be in position was awesomeness. saw the play developing way up field, then in a moment free of hesitation, burst forward unmarked in a flash to cover all that space


  21. Xabi Alonso! Please come back to Liverpool.

    Iniesta’s pass to Alba perfectly weighted.

    France has to try and attack now beyond hoping Ribery can shake his defenders.

  22. Spain definitely in front so far. Should’ve had a penalty and most of the action has been around France’s goal/defending 1/3rd.


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