Spain - France Preview: Del Bosque's side continue quest to retain Euro crown against Les Bleus
La Furia Roja look to continue their incredible finals record but will face the last team to have knocked them out of a major tournament in Les Bleus
By Matthew Harold
Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Alba
Iniesta, Xavi, Silva
Debuchy, Koscielny, Rami, Clichy
Menez, Nasri, Ribery
The 2008 champions come into their quarter-final after a disappointing performance in the 1-0 victory over Croatia, although that win helped Vicente del Bosque’s side to claim top spot in Group C.
The Spaniards have several players currently walking a suspension tightrope, with Alvaro Arbeloa, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Javi Martinez all one booking away from missing a semi-final clash with Portugal should they advance. The big selection decision will be whether Torres will continue in attack, or whether Del Bosque will utilise a false nine once again.
France lost their final group match against Sweden, which led to England winning the section and Laurent Blanc’s side having to settle for second place.
Les Bleus will be without the services of defender Philippe Mexes after the AC Milan centre-half picked up his second yellow card of the tournament in the defeat to Sweden. Laurent Koscielny should deputise in his absence.
The French also have doubts over Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery, who both missed training on Wednesday, but are expected to make the match, while Yohan Cabaye may be excluded after sitting out the last group game with a thigh problem. Jeremy Menez, omitted from the loss to Sweden, could return to the starting XI.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Spain have only lost two competitive matches since October 2006, suffering defeat at the hands of the United States in the Confederations Cup and Switzerland in their opening fixture of the 2010 World Cup.
- Despite his recent struggles, striker Fernando Torres remains the top goalscorer in the current Spanish squad, having struck 30 times in his 96 appearances.
- La Roja have amassed double the amount of completed passes of their opponents in their three group fixtures, achieving a record 810 to Ireland’s 198 in their second game.
- Spanish playmaker Xavi broke the 20-year record of Dutchman Ronald Koeman as he completed 127 passes during the Ireland game.
- France saw their 23-game unbeaten run come to an end when they lost their final Group D game to Sweden in Kiev.
- The French were the last side to knock Spain out of a major tournament, when goals from Franck Ribery, Patrick Vieira and Zinedine Zidane helped them claim a World Cup 2006 last-16 victory.
- Striker Karim Benzema (pictured right) has failed to find the net in the last four competitive fixtures that he has started for France.
- Blanc is currently taking part in his fourth European Championship for the France, having been involved as a player in three tournaments.
Top 3 Predictions
Spain 2-1 France
- 19.32 %
Spain 1-2 France
- 16.26 %
Spain 2-0 France
- 12.57 %
|World Cup Qualification - Europe (WCQE)||27-Mar-2013||France 0 - Spain 1|
|World Cup Qualification - Europe (WCQE)||17-Oct-2012||Spain 1 - France 1|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||24-Jun-2012||Spain 2 - France 0|
|International Friendlies (FR)||04-Mar-2010||France 0 - Spain 2|
|International Friendlies (FR)||07-Feb-2008||Spain 1 - France 0|
|06-Mar-2014||Spain 1 - Italy 0||FR|
|20-Nov-2013||South Africa 1 - Spain 0||FR|
|17-Nov-2013||Equatorial Guinea 1 - Spain 2||FR|
|16-Oct-2013||Spain 2 - Georgia 0||WCQE|
|12-Oct-2013||Spain 2 - Belarus 1||WCQE|
|6||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|22||Jesús Navas González||Midfielder|
|-||Hatem Ben Arfa|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed