What: 2014 World Cup Qualifying – Group I
Who: Spain vs France
When: Tuesday 16th October, 2012, at 20:00 UK Time
Where: Vicente Calderon, Madrid, Spain
Level on maximum points after two games in Group I, Spain and France battle it out at the Vicente Calderon here as one tries to establish a lead over the other. La Roja will rely on their recent Euro 2012 memory against France when they beat Les Bleus 2-0 in the competition’s quarter-finals on their way to winning the trophy.
Without a loss since that memorable night on 1st July, the world’s top ranked team have been consolidating their position as the best, with Belarus bearing witnesses to their sheer power, being beaten 4-0 on Friday. However, hat-trick hero Pedro Rodriguez noted Spain will find it difficult against Didier Deschamps’ France.
“They are a dangerous team with many important players. Given the way they play, they are going to be very difficult. We want to continue the run of victories, that would be good for us”, declared the Barcelona star.
With morale sky-high and playing in front of their own fans, Spain will fancy their chances of winning this important clash against their rivals for top spot.
Didier Deschamps has made a good start to life as France coach, with the former Marseille man able to improve the side he inherited from predecessor Laurent Blanc, despite losing 1-0 to Japan on Friday in a friendly encounter. Now, Deschamps will hope that his troops put this defeat behind them as he attempts to achieve what Blanc could not do, and that is defeat Spain.
Les Bleus’ coach expressed his frustration after the game against Japan, but nonetheless stressed that his side will not be consumed by the loss and will not suffer a hangover. “I always hate to lose. I am disappointed for the players with the efforts they have made. But we will not linger on it, we will recover and prepare for the game against Spain.”
As beating Spain will be a tactical puzzle, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris stressed that France should capitalise on every chance that presents itself. “It could be difficult, but we have to be together and everyone has to put in a huge effort and hit them where it hurts. We will certainly have our chances, and we cannot let them pass.”
Spain 5-0 Saudi Arabia (07/09; Friendly)
Georgia 0-1 Spain (11/09; World Cup Qualifying)
Belarus 0-4 Spain (12/10; World Cup Qualifying)
Finland 0-1 France (07/09; World Cup Qualifying)
France 3-1 Belarus (11/09; World Cup Qualifying)
France 0-1 Japan (12/10; Friendly)
Players to watch
Spain – David Silva: The Manchester City man was brilliant against Belarus, but his true test will undoubtedly come against neighbours France. Capable of playing on the left, right or in the centre of the pitch, he is a vital component in the Roja battleship.
France – Karim Benzema: The striker had a quiet performance against Japan and he will have to redeem himself when he meets some of his Real Madrid team-mates and La Liga adversaries. Capable of turning it on in an instant, much lies on the shoulders of Benzema.
La Roja appear to be an even stronger side than the one that raised the 2012 European Championship trophy some months ago. In sync, raring to go, and in front of their own supporters, they should be able to get the win over a France side which can still suffer from inconsistency. Spain 2-0 France.
Best bets for the game? Read our Spain v France betting preview!