Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso could hardly have chosen a better game to score his third brace for the La Roja.

On Saturday the Real Madrid player not only played his 100th game for his national team — becoming only the fifth player to achieve that milestone — he also did so in the quarterfinal of the European Championships.

His goals in the 19th and 90th minutes gave his side a 2-0 victory against France in the Donbass Arena in Donetsk.

It was also Spain’s first-ever win in a competitive match against the Les Bleus and keeps them in line to successfully defend their Euro title.

“This was certainly a wonderful way to celebrate my 100th game,” he said.

“I can’t remember when last I scored with a header and in fact, I can’t remember if I ever did. I certainly have not scored many goals with my head and I am really pleased that it happened today.”

“We have gained in experience and this has allowed us to grow,” he said.

“But it has also made it more difficult for us because our opponents know the way we play and are even more eager to beat us.”

Keywords: Euro 2012

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