Alonso pleased with progress

PA Sport
Xabi Alonso (left) was unconcerned by personal milestones as Spain booked their semi-final spot
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Xabi Alonso (left) was unconcerned by personal milestones as Spain booked their semi-final spot

Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso insisted helping his team reach the semi-finals of Euro 2012 was more important than winning his 100th cap after scoring twice on Saturday night to knock out France.

The former Liverpool man played a big part in ensuring the defending champions overcame Les Bleus 2-0 with a first-half header and a late penalty in Donetsk. Spain will now meet Portugal in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

"We're through to the semi-finals, which was the main thing," the Real Madrid player told uefa.com. "We're pleased about that. The 100 caps is just an extra. It's in these matches that we have to show what we're about. We controlled it from start to finish. The team made things easy."

He added: "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.

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

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

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas knows Spain face a stiff test against Portugal.

"Portugal will be very difficult," he said. "They have strong individuals, strong players.

"Apart from their good open play, they are very good on the counter-attack, and we'll have to work hard in that game.

"They have Ronaldo, Nani, Raul Meireles, Joao Moutinho. They have very good players."

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