Xavi Alonso celebrated his 100th appearance for Spain with two goals that put the world and European champions into the Euro 2012 semi-finals.
An early header and late penalty from the Real Madrid midfielder were enough to see off a France team that rarely threatened to impose themselves on the match.
Vicente Del Bosque’s side will now face Portugal in the last four.
The team line-ups hinted at a tight game with Spain electing to go without an established striker again, while France set out in a 4-5-1 which included two right-backs in Anthony Reveillere and Mathieu Debuchy.
Spain began well, holding possession in what is now their established style but while enjoying freedom on the right flank they were not finding it easy to create chances.
On 19 minutes, the breakthrough was made, though it came from the left. Jordi Alba pushed forward from full-back and a sumptuous cross was met by Alonso, who headed down and past Hugo Lloris and into the net.
The goal did not alter France’s game as they struggled to find any chemistry between Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema and Florent Malouda in attack.
A Yohann Cabaye free-kick, tipped out from under the crossbar by Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas, was the closest they came to scoring in a first half where Spain were comfortably in the ascendancy.
After the break, France increased the tempo but with no further success.
Debuchy had two early chances, the second a header that just cleared the bar and Benzema was more lively but undid good work with a shot ballooned high when Spain looked vulnerable.
The introduction of Samir Nasri and Jeremy Menez made little difference, while Spain brought on forwards Pedro and Torres, an indication that Del Bosque did not feel France were in danger of over-running his comfortable midfield.
A Spanish victory that had looked likely from the opening stages was confirmed when Pedro was fouled by Anthony Reveillere in the final minutes. Alonso, having already scored his 14th international goal, calmy fired in his 15th from the spot to secure passage to the last four.
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