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September 4, 2014
• 3:00 PM
• Stade de France, Paris
Referee: A. Bieri
• Attendance: 80000
L. Rémy 73'
Full time in Paris. It looked destined for a run of the mill 0-0 friendly clash but a few moments of magic from Paul Pogba, Mathieu Valbuena, and Loic Remy has saw France run out 1-0 winners over Spain. The new-look La Roja still face the same problems as there was no tempo to the play and barely any shots on goal. Things are looking rosy for Euro 2016 hosts, France, though! I'm Martin Macdonald, thanks for joining us, see you next time!
90' + 1'
Pogba pulls another trick out of his arsenal as he cleverly rolls the ball through the legs of Iturraspe whilst under pressure from the Spaniard near the corner flag. Wonderful stuff.
Fantastic challenge by Debuchy! Isco and David Silva link up superbly again and this time the Madrid man bursts into the box, looking to get the shot away. Just before he can though, the Arsenal defender comes in with a brilliant last ditch challenge!
The play just stops for a few moments after Pogba finds himself in an Iturraspe/Koke sandwich. He looks as if he has just had his bell rung, but there's no real concerns and he should be okay to continue. Massimiliano Allegri just had to catch his breath I bet!
France seem quite happy to let Spain have the ball now as they sit back and soak up the pressure. Isco and Silva have made a positive impact for the visitors, but their side are facing a formidable dark blue wall to get through.
David Silvaaaaaa! Unlucky! The Manchester City midfielder latches on to a neat pass from Pedro and looks to find the far corner with a lashed left-footed strike. Lloris was rooted to the spot, but the attempt just goes a yard wide!
We get our first glimpse of Isco as the substitute breaks forward from midfield. He looks for the run of Pedro but a miscommunication between the two Spaniards leaves the ball running harmlessly through to Lloris. May be wrong here but that may be the first time I've mentioned Hugo Lloris! Probably a bad sign for La Roja!
Pogba is enjoying himself now! The Juventus man shakes off a couple of challenges in midfield before pulling off a glorious Marseille turn that even Zinedine Zidane would be proud of! The home crowd loved that one!
Spain are chasing the game now and as a result, Isco has been introduced in place of the rather ineffectual Santi Cazorla. France, meanwhile, take off the impressive Sissoko for Morgan Schneiderlin.
Deschamps reacts almost immediately to that goal and introduces Remy Cabella in place of Valbuena, who picked up a lovely assist for Remy's opener.
Assist Mathieu Valbuena
Goal Loïc Remy
GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL FOR FRANCE!!! Just as your writer predicted a few moments ago, there are DEFINITELY goals in this!! In a wonderful move, Pogba receives the ball to feet inside the box before shifting round the corner for Valbuena. The midfielder then finds Remy, who lashes a left-footed strike into the top left corner! One-nil to the hosts!
Just over 18 minutes remaining here at Stade de France, and there are no signs yet that we'll see a goal before full time. There was a mid half tempo change in which both sides upped their game a little, but both look to be settling for the draw now!
Spain's sub almost link up effectively as Alcacer takes the ball in to feet at the top of the park before looking to squeeze a pass out wide for Pedro. The Barca man typically looks to shift back on to his right foot but eventually finds himself outnumbered, and surrenders possession.
Deschamps follows suit and makes a double change a few moments later. Yohan Cabaye and Lucas Digne come on for Blaise Matuidi and Patrice Evra, who looks to have picked up a neck injury judging by his exit from the park.
Another couple of changes from Spain here. Chelsea boys Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas as withdrawn for debutant Paco Alcacer, and Pedro.
Remy collects the ball to feet midway through the Spain half and turns sharply before spraying a terrific diagonal to the right wing for Sissoko. The Newcastle man takes a touch and looks to find his team-mate again to the back post, but his attempted volley doesn't come off!
Valbuena clips a free kick into the box from a central area and Remy battles for dominance with San Jose before just stretching out a leg in an attempt to latch on to his compatriot's pass. He just can't get enough of a connection on it to give De Gea a problem though!
The substitutions a few moments ago just seem to have injected some life into proceedings here. Both sides are coming out of their shell more, which is in turn creating more space for the attackers in behind. No goals yet though!
Valbuena finds himself going through the wars a bit as he, within the space of about 30 seconds, comes on the opposite end of strong aerial challenges from the much taller Ramos and Iturraspe. He comes out of both still running though, so fair play to the Dinamo Moscow new boy!
Both sides make a change as David Silva replaces Raul Garcia for Spain and Loic Remy replaces Griezmann for France. Expect plenty more swaps as the half progresses!
We've got a bit tussle between Diego Costa and Sakho here as the duo square up in the middle of the park. You wouldn't want to be the one to have to break those two up! Thankfully it doesn't come to that and we can continue with the game.
The Atletico man gets the corner kick in but it is far too shallow and doesn't beat the first man, which allows Azpilicueta to clear at the front post.
The former Leverkusen right-back displays the other side of his game now as he strides forward down the right-hand side on the overlap. He looks to swing a cross into the box, but instead earns a corner kick. Koke to take.
Benzema relentless pursues Carvajal down into the corner flag and forces his Real Madrid team-mate to clear, but luckily for him he earns the throw in. That's been a very interesting duel down the left wing tonight!
GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL FOR FRANCE! WAIT! NO! OFFSIDE! Benzema tops off a lovely attack by squeezing a strike into the far post and runs off to celebrate, but the cheers are prematurely cut short by the linesman, who flags for offside! That looked harsh, he was behind the ball!
The ball is fizzed in to the feet of Valbuena on the halfway line and Sergio Ramos comes right through the back of the Frenchman to get the ball, giving away a foul in the process. That's a number of times the Madrid man has did that, and has been penalised for a foul every time.
We are back under way in Paris! Strangely, we have only seen one change at half time in this friendly clash. Ander Iturraspe has replaced Sergio Busquets in the middle of the park for Spain.
Half time in Paris. It has not been what you would say a typical friendly clash between France and Spain here, as there has definitely been a competitive edge tinged among the players in both ranks. However, goalscoring chances have been few and far between as Del Bosque's men boss possession, but remain wary of the hosts' pacey counterattack. Expect some changes at half time from both coaches!
Evra sells himself rashly on the wing which allows Diego Costa to open up his stride and hit the byline. The Chelsea man finds himself with bereft of options in the middle though and is eventually dispossessed by Sakho.
Sissoko cleverly nutmegs the ball down the right flank and looks to latch on to the pass, battling Azpilicueta along the way. He gets the better of the Chelsea man but can't get beyond Sergio Ramos, who puts out of play after covering in behind.
Benzema tests the gloves of De Gea once again. The ball falls kindle to the Real Madrid striker on the edge of the box and, upon realising there was no options from team-mates available, goes for a half volley. It was a decent strike, but the Man Utd goalkeeper gets down the make the save with ease.
We've got a small break in play at the moment as Busquets is currently down injured after receiving a hell of a whack to the face from a Griezmann strike from the edge of the box. He took the attempt right on the temple, but he should be okay after composing himself for a few moments.
Benzema breaks down the channel to collect possession but is rash in his pass inside and Spain win the ball back. The Stade de France crowd show their dismay at the latest breakdown in attack, which will play straight into Spain's hands!
Fabregas looks to take the game by the scruff of the neck as he embarks on an ambitious dribble through the middle, skipping by challenge after challenge. He looks to pull the trigger from the edge of the box but sees his attempt blocked. Much better from Spain!
Spain are just enjoying a small period of sustained possession outside the French box at the moment. They have nearly got in behind through a couple of accurate diagonals, but the home side are extremely well drilled in their defending, so not much space available to work for La Roja!
We are nearly 30 minutes into play here in Paris, and neither side can brag of any real chances so far. De Gea has had to be on his toes for a couple of speculative shots from France, but apart from that it has mostly been a midfield battle.
In almost a carbon copy of Spain's previous set-piece opportunity, Koke whips a dangerous cross to the back post. This time though, San Jose does manage to get on the end of it, heading back into the danger area, but the vigilant Debuchy is on hand to smash out of the six yard box!
What a pass from Pogba! The Juventus man collects the ball 30 yards out and dinks a superb cross round the Spanish defence for Benzema, but the striker can't get a decent connection on his volley and the chance goes begging! What a goal that would have been!
Debuchy looks lost at the touchline as he desperately looks for a team-mate to find from a throw-in. Griezmann eventually makes an intelligent run down the right channel but he is easily dispossessed by Sergio Ramos.
Pogba displays a few of his many attributes within the space of a few seconds as he wins the ball back with a strong tackle before evading a couple of tackles with quick feet and eventually sliding a precision pass to the feet of Benzema. The Frenchman looks like he has everything!
Koke receives the ball on the halfway line and looks for the run of his former Atletico team-mate, Costa, through the middle. However, the striker just went too quickly and eventually is flagged as offiside. Only just, though.
Lovely counterattack from France! Varane wins the ball back from Costa in the defensive area then the hosts move up the park through Matuidi and Valbuena. Sissoko then gallops down the right before looking for Benzema inside the box, but Carvajal is on hand AGAIN to clear the danger!
Debuchy is involved in the action once again as he robs Spain of possession down the wing and attempts to burst out of defence. However, he is stopped in his tracks abruptly as Fabregas comes in with a poor tackle. If this was a competitive match that would definitely be a booking!
Spain get the opportunity to deliver some quality in to the box with a set-piece from the right wing. Koke swings the free kick to the back post but Debuchy clears away with a terrific defensive header. San Jose looked poised to get on the end of the cross there!
Pogba drives forward with authority through the middle before exchanging a neat one-two with Benzema on the edge of the box. The Juventus midfielder turns the defender sharply before squeezing out a strong strike, but it is straight down the throat of De Gea, who makes the stop.
Benzema manages to get beyond the Spain defence and latch on to a through pass before smashing a left-footed strike towards the bottom corner, but De Gea is alert enough to pounce on the attempt and make a comfortable save.
France look to instigate a pacey counterattack down the middle and the ball comes to the feet of Griezmann, but the Atletico Madrid new boy just can't control from under his feet which allows Carvajal to come in and make another interception. The threat was certainly there from the hosts!
Sissoko opens up his long stride down the right-hand side and hits the byline before lashing a teasing cross into the box. Carvajal is patrolling in the correct area though and manages to emphatically clear the ball out of the box. Good defending from the Madrid man.
Spain typically grow into their pressing game as Diego Costa leads the charge by chasing down Varane near the corner flag. Old Madrid derby rivals re-igniting the feud here. Should be an interesting one to keep an eye on!
Really solid start to the match from the hosts here. Spain seem happy to let the France defence have the ball as Varane, Sakho and Matuidi all pop possession around with confidence.
We are under way in Paris!
The national anthems sound out in the Stade de France! We're just a few moments from kick off now!
Deschamps has put faith in more or less the same squad that took Les Bleus to the quarter-final in Brazil. A couple of players coming in to the first XI however are Raphael Varane and Moussa Sissoko, who replace Laurent Koscielny and Yohan Cabaye respectively.
Iker Casillas has been replaced in goal by Manchester United keeper, David De Gea. The Real Madrid captain made a few high profile mistakes during the World Cup, and has not been selected for the friendly clash tonight. However, expect Del Bosque to ring the changes throughout the match.
Some interesting changes from Del Bosque. In the absence of Gerard Pique, Mikel San Jose starts at the back alongside Sergio Ramos. Fabregas, Koke, and Busquets make up a new-look midfield, with Diego Costa still being entrusted as the lone striker, with Santi Cazorla and Raul Garcia supporting from the flanks.
Spain (4-3-3): De Gea; Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, San Jose, Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Busquets, Koke; Raul Garcia, Diego Costa, Cazorla.
France (4-3-3): Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra; Pogba, Matuidi, Sissoko; Valbuena, Griezmann, Benzema.
France pretty much lived up to expectations in Brazil, and went out at the quarter-final stage to eventual world champions, Germany. However, some impressive early performances in the tournament suggest a promising future for Didier Deschamp’s youth squad.
Spain endured an incredibly disappointing competition in Rio, and were dumped out at the group stage after a defeat to Chile and a humiliating 5-1 loss to the Netherlands. La Roja’s poor attempt to defend their crown has saw coach Vicente del Bosque call upon a new generation of Spanish stars to take the nation back to the top.
Spain will be hoping to use their first fixture since the World Cup to shake off any cobwebs before Euro 2016 qualification starts. France, meanwhile, are the competition hosts, so face an array of international friendly matches before Summer 2016.
I’m Martin Macdonald, and I’ll be taking you through the action!
Good evening folks! Welcome to LIVE coverage of the international friendly clash between France and Spain from Stade de France in Paris!
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