DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) – Xabi Alonso scored to give defending champion Spain a 1-0 lead over France at halftime Saturday in the European Championship quarterfinals.
Andres Iniesta prodded the ball through for Jordi Alba, who whipped a perfect cross from the left that Alonso met with a thumping header from close range in the 19th minute.
It was the perfect way for the midfielder to celebrate his 100th international appearance. Alonso was also in the Spain team that lost to France 3-1 in the second round of the 2006 World Cup - the last time Spain was eliminated from a major tournament.
France had little possession but almost equalized in the 32nd when Yohan Cabaye's free kick was tipped over by Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas.