Xabi Alonso: Reaching Euro 2012 semis the priority, 100th cap just an extra


Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso has admitted he is delighted his match-winning double against France sent his side into the Euro 2012 semi-finals, but insists that to do so on the occasion of his 100th national team appearance is just “an extra”.

Alonso's first-half header and injury-time penalty secured the win for the Spanish, as they look to become the first international side to win three consecutive major titles, after success in this competition four years ago, along with their World Cup triumph in South Africa in 2010.

And Alonso highlighted the ease with which the Spanish made victory against the French look, despite many predicting a close encounter beforehand.

"It's in these matches that we have to show what we're about," ,” the former Liverpool man told Uefa.com. "We controlled it from start to finish. The team made things easy.

"We're through to the semi-finals, which was the main thing. We're pleased about that. The 100 caps is just an extra.

"I was happy about my 100th game and the goals. We know every game is difficult now but we're in the semi-finals and we're going to give it everything.”

Alonso, who has been a key component of Vicente Del Bosque's all-conquering side throughout the last four years, also highlighted the big-game experience the current crop of players have gained as a reason for their success in the clash with France.

"It became easier after the goal," he added. "It was a big quarter-final game and you have to know how to play them.

"We controlled the match, though we knew it wouldn't be easy against opponents that were defending deep."

The world’s number one-ranked international side must now prepare for a semi-final clash with Portugal in Donesk on Wednesday.

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