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The Real Madrid stopper has urged his international team-mates not to underestimate the 1998 world champions, as he anticipates a difficult match at the Vicente Calderon

Spain defender Raul Albiol expects a tricky World Cup 2014 qualifier against France on Tuesday evening, claiming his country's opponents will be at their "absolute best".

Les Bleus were beaten 1-0 by Japan on Friday but the centre-back does not believe the friendly defeat will affect the Gallic nation's morale, and has little doubt they will be on top of their game against La Roja.

"I don't think our opponents will be coming here with their spirits damaged at all," Albiol was quoted as saying on the official Uefa website.

"Against Japan they had the match against us in mind. We are all too aware that we will have to prepare exceptionally well as we will be facing the absolute best version of France.

"Taking maximum points from this game would be a big step towards qualifying for the World Cup. Playing at home in front of our own fans is an important factor.

"We know France have changed quite a few players with their new coach – they are more physical now – but what hasn't changed is their style."

Tuesday's encounter is scheduled to kick off at 21:00CET.

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