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DONETSK, Ukraine - Spain got two goals from Xabi Alonso and the defending champions, who are trying to win a third straight major title, advanced to the European Championship semifinals with a 2-0 win over France on Saturday.

"These types of games, in this type of competition, are always very tense," coach Vicente del Bosque said, "and you need to have the know-how to win them."

Alonso provided that as the Real Madrid midfielder scored an early header and a late penalty kick. The win was Spain's first over France in a competitive match in seven attempts.

Portugal and star Cristiano Ronaldo will provide a stern test Wednesday in the next round as Spain tries to become the first team to hold two European titles and the World Cup title at the same time.

Meanwhile, England must beat Italy today to reach the final four. England has never defeated Italy at a major event.


Obama hails Title IX's effects

President Barack Obama marked the 40th anniversary of the landmark anti-gender discrimination law known as Title IX, saying it has proved to be a "springboard for success."

The federal law is best known for promoting high school and college sports programs for women. Obama wrote in Newsweek magazine that women who went to school under Title IX now "pioneer scientific breakthroughs, run thriving businesses, govern states, and, yes, coach varsity teams."


Roddick boosted by win on grass

Andy Roddick won the Eastbourne Championships in England on the eve of Wimbledon, beating defending champion Andreas Seppi6-3, 6-2 in the men's final. Tamira Paszek fought off five match points to defeat Angelique Kerber 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 in the women's final.

More tennis:The blue clay that upset Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at last month's Madrid Open is going away. ATP president Brad Drewett posted on the tour's website that blue claycourts will not be allowed at tour events next season.


I'll Have Another to stand in Japan

I'll Have Another, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes winner who pulled out of a Triple Crown bid just before the Belmont, is headed to Japan to begin his stud career, owner J. Paul Reddam told New York's Newsday.

I'll Have Another will stand at Shigeyuki Okada's Big Red Farm starting with the 2013 breeding season. Financial terms were not disclosed. "It was in the range we were looking for," Reddam told the Daily Racing Form. "Kentucky wasn't anywhere close to where the Japanese were."

Et cetera

NBA: Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he hopes to meet with team brass in "the next couple of days" to discuss a new contract. Brooks' four-year deal is set to expire at the end of the month.

WNBA:Lindsay Whalen scored 25 as host Minnesota beat Chicago 79-67.

Times wires