Much maligned but effective once again, Spain's experimental six-man midfield got the job done against France on Saturday in the European Championship quarterfinals.

The defending champions play Portugal next after the 2-0 victory at the Donbass Arena, where usual midfielder Cesc Fabregas led Spain's attack from the start over Fernando Torres for the second time this tournament.

Xabi Alonso scored both goals as Spain's slick-passing midfielders effectively stifled France, controlling 55 percent of possession.

Coach Vicente del Bosque says the decision to go with Fabregas was not easy, but ''there is no debate'' as it allowed the world champions to seize control of the game.