Del Bosque admits he fears France

The reigning world champions’ boss believes that la Roja will need to erase the missed chances that cost them in their 1-1 draw with les Bleus in October ahead of Tuesday’s clash

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has expressed his fear that France might beat his side on Tuesday in their crucial World Cup qualifier.

The two western European teams are level at the top of Group I, but la Roja top the standings thanks to a superior goal difference

Del Bosque, who has guided Spain to two successive major tournament titles, believes les Bleus will pose a huge test to his players next week in the match away from home.

He told RMC on Wednesday: “Didier Deschamps has very good players. These are players who are as good as ours as they showed during the second period of the first leg of Spain-France [October 16]. I can even say that at some point they were better than us.

“We are the first to have confidence in our players but we keep a huge respect for the France team and our opponents. I fear this tie. I have great respect for the French and now the difference between the two teams is not as important.

“There are great players in the France team - as good as ours - and it is obvious that the French team at the Stade de France will have the motivation to play against us, and will be at the top of their game.

“The French are proud people and it is obvious that they will do everything to beat us.”

The former Real Madrid boss also accepted that Spain did not deserve to win the home fixture against Deschamps’ men at the tail end of 2012, and is hoping that his team take their chances this time after a last-minute winner denied them all three points last October.

“In the first leg, in the second period, they were better,” Del Bosque continued. “Valbuena created a lot of great chances when he came on to the pitch.

“We made mistakes because at no time did we controlled the game. Defensively, we had not been successful. We can say that the draw with France was the deserved [result] even if we had the opportunity to lead 2-0. It is regrettable that [Cesc] Fabregas missed his penalty.

“I don’t know how this [March 26] game will unfold. Our aim is to take the initiative in the game, having possession of the ball and not let ourselves be dominated by France. It will be very complicated and we are aware of that.

“But we will still have three matches after this one! I don’t forget that we have tough rivals such as Belarus, Finland and Georgia.

“I think the smartest thing is to be patient, and move game after game, day after day.”

On March 22 Spain will face Finland, before their highly-anticipated clash with the former world and European champions.