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WC Qualification Europe
October 16, 2012
• Estadio Vicente Calderón, Madrid
Referee: F. Brych
• Attendance: 46825
Sergio Ramos 25'
O. Giroud 90'+
Spain's 24-match winning streak in qualification matches is over, after France won a point here in Madrid. That's all from me for tonight guys, thanks for joining me! Good night!
FULL-TIME: SPAIN 1-1 FRANCE. Vicente Del Bosque's men appeared to be on course for a fairly comfortable victory at half-time, after Sergio Ramos had given them a 1-0 lead. Cesc Fabregas missed a penalty late in the first half, but France then forced the issue after the interval, and deservedly equalised in the dying moments courtesy of a well-taken headed goal from substitute Olivier Giroud.
90' + 5'
And that's that! The referee blows the final whistle, France have secured a point away from home here. What a finish that was!
90' + 4'
Assist Franck Ribéry
90' + 4'
Goal Olivier Giroud
FRANCE EQUALISER!!! GIROUD HEADS IN THE EQUALISER!! Juanfran gives the ball away cheaply on the right and France make Spain pay! Sissoko breaks down the left before slipping the ball to the overlapping Ribery, who provides an inch-perfect cross to Giroud, the striker glancing a fine header into the bottom right-hand corner.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Juanfran
90' + 2'
Valbuena hoofs it towards Sakho in the Spain box but Ramos gets to the ball ahead of the France centre-back, and is able to head the ball upfield and away from danger for his side.
90' + 2'
The referee shows Juanfran a yellow card for time-wasting, and France have one final opportunity to launch the ball into the penalty area from the set piece.
90' + 1'
GOOD SAVE FROM CASILLAS!! The Spain goalkeeper gets down well to keep out a long range effort from Ribery. France are going all out for an equaliser here!
On comes Olivier Giroud for Karim Benzema. The man going off looks in a fair amount of pain as he takes his place on the France bench, a worrying sight for Real Madrid fans.
Fabregas is penalised for blocking Sakho's route to Torres as the France centre-back attempts to take the ball from the Spain forward, and that is a silly piece of play from the Barcelona man, he's gifted France possession.
Juanfran keeps the ball in on the right before hooking a cross into the box towards Pedro, but the pass is too high for his team-mate, although Cazorla manages to salvage possession for the home side.
And now Benzema is down looking uncomfortable. Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho must be cursing to high heavens watching this game after Arbeloa went off injured and now Benzema is walking gingerly.
Sissoko sweeps the ball out to Ribery on the left. He cuts inside before passing to Valbuena, but France are blocked off by a wall of red, and are forced to pass the ball back and start their attack from their own half.
Spain are defending slightly deeper now as they realise that this match is in the balance. A neat drag-back from Busquets relieves the pressure slightly and allows La Roja to work the ball out from the back.
Some lovely footwork from Santi Cazorla allows him to dance past a challenge from Sissoko and put Spain back on the front foot as they attack once more.
Ribery is right in the thick of all of France's play at the moment, and on the occasion does very well to evade the attentions of Juanfran inside the Spain penalty area before digging out an enticing cross for Benzema at the far post. The France striker fails to connect with the cross though, and Spain are able to clear the ball.
The move eventually reached Torres 30 yards from goal, but after driving past one challenge he was dispossessed by a robust tackle from Sakho.
Sakho drives a fine pass out to Ribery on the right but he cannot make the most of the space he finds himself in, as Alba nips back to tackle him and start a counter attack for Spain.
Here comes Torres. El Nino is home. Fernando Torres is set to be Spain's third substitute of the evening, playing at the stadium he started his career at with Atletico Madrid. It's been five years since he last played at the Vicente Calderon, where he was and is a club legend.
BIG CHANCE FOR FRANCE!! Benzema does superbly to stay onside and pick out Sissoko with a lofted cross from the left, but the recent substitute cannot direct his effort towards goal, and the ball flies high over Casillas' crossbar.
Alba's pull-back to Pedro is overhit and goes straight into the path of Cabaye. He slides the ball out to the left and Ribery is off, the ball is switched towards Benzema on the right, but Pedro is back defending for the home side to steal the ball and pass it away upfield.
FABREGAS SHOOTS WIDE!! The Barcelona man fires a shot a couple of yards wide that Sakho did well to block out for a corner to the home side. The same defender then clears the danger from the set piece, under pressure from Sergio Ramos.
France make their second substitution of the evening, Moussa Sissoko replacing Jeremy Menez.
Juanfran flicks a delicious ball through to Fabregas but Lloris is out quickly to claim the ball and quash the danger. Seconds later, Benzema fires a pass across the six-yard box for France that none of his team-mates can divert towards Casillas' goal.
The home fans are singing 'Ole! Ole!' each time their team complete a pass, but this second half has been far from plain sailing for La Roja, France have posed a decent threat in the last 10 minutes, particularly following Arbeloa's injury.
France work the ball nicely down the left through Valbuena and Ribery, with the latter of the two hooking an inviting cross to Benzema at the back post that Casillas does well to deal with.
Fine tackle from Koscielny! The France centre-back puts in a last-ditch block on Xavi as the Barcelona midfielder shapes to shoot inside the box after Spain had launched a quick counter attack.
Seconds later the ball breaks to Benzema once more, but Casillas is equal to his Real Madrid team-mate, rushing out to block the ball before gathering it and hurling it away upfield.
Straight up the other end and Benzema looks to be clean through one-on-one with Casillas, but the linesman has his flag up for offside on the far side.
Alba does brilliantly to force his way into the France box on the left before cutting a pass back to Fabregas, but his Barcelona team-mate cannot test Lloris from close-range, and France are able to clear the ball away.
WHAT A STRIKE FROM RIBERY!! Evra drives into the penalty area before the ball is deflected into the path of Ribery, who wastes no time in hammering a shot at goal from the edge of the Spain box, that nicks off the heel of Sergio Busquets and flies inches wide of the left-hand post.
That is Gonalons' last contribution of the game though, as he is replaced by the lightning-quick Mathieu Valbuena.
Menez wins a throw-in deep in Spain's half on the right, after Gonalons had sprayed a neat pass out to him on the wing.
Gonalons nicks the ball off Iniesta inside the France box as the Barcelona man tries to fashion space to get a shot on goal. That was a timely interception from the Lyon midfielder, as Iniesta was setting himself to shoot.
Alba wins a free-kick inside his own half after being nudged in the back by Benzema. France are not happy about that. It looked fairly innocuous in all fairness!
Juanfran looks to get involved straightaway, latching on to a high through-ball and nodding the ball towards Fabregas, who miscontrols it and loses possession.
Juanfran is warming up on the sidelines to a hearty applause from the home fans. The right-back, who is set to replace the departing Arbeloa, plies his trade at the Vicente Calderon for Atletico Madrid.
Arbeloa appears to be hurt following that challenge from Ribery, and Del Bosque now looks to be forced into making his second change of the evening.
Ribery plays a neat one-two with Evra on the left-hand side for France, but is then penalised for catching Arbeloa.
France are defending well in the opening minutes of this half, and have stopped Spain in dangerous areas twice already.
We are back underway here in Madrid, Spain immediately attack down the left through Iniesta and Alba.
Join me in 10 minutes for the second half of this exciting match!
HALF-TIME: SPAIN 1-0 FRANCE. Sergio Ramos' goal midway through the half separates the two sides at the Vicente Calderon, although France will feel aggrieved that they are not on the scoresheet after Jeremy Menez scored what looked like a legitimate goal, that was subsequently ruled out for offside by the linseman. Cesc Fabregas then missed a penalty for the home side after Laurent Koscielny had wiped out Pedro in the France penalty area, which means the score at the break in Madrid remains 1-0 to La Roja.
45' + 2'
Yellow Card Maxime Gonalons
45' + 2'
That's the last play of the half, with Spain leading 1-0.
Iniesta is caught by Maxime Gonalons in the centre circle, and that was high and late from the France midfielder, who deservedly is shown a yellow card by Felix Brych.
GREAT DOUBLE SAVE FROM LLORIS!! The France goalkeeper is forced into making two fine saves from Pedro and Fabregas after Spain carve the away side's defence wide open.
Koscielny will be relieved about that...
Missed Penalty Cesc Fàbregas
Penalty save Hugo Lloris
LLORIS SAVES THE SPOT-KICK!! Fabregas hits the penalty low towards the bottom left-hand corner but the France goalkeeper is a match for the strike, as he pushes the ball out and away from danger.
Yellow Card Laurent Koscielny
SPAIN HAVE A PENALTY!! Koscielny wipes out Pedro on the left side of the penalty area and can have no complaints as the referee points to the spot, as he got absolutely nowhere near the ball with that challenge.
It remains 1-0 to Spain here then, despite that controversy surrounding Yohan Cabaye's free-kick.
FRANCE HAVE EQUAL.... No, no they haven't. The away side think they have drawn level following Cabaye's free-kick, after Benzema nodded the ball back across goal to Menez who headed home from what the linesman deemed to be an offside position! Replays are inconclusive, France are furious!
Alonso is being reprimanded by Felix Brych here. He's just gone in late on his Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema on the right, and France have a free-kick in a promising area.
Pedro goes off on a dancing run through the heart of the France defence before shifting the ball off to Iniesta, but the Ballon d'Or candidate wastes the chance, slicing his shot high and wide from 20 yards.
Debuchy is down following a hearty challenge from Alba on the left. The Spaniard looked to catch his opponent with a knee to the back there, he's rather fortunate the referee didn't see.
The away side waste the resulting corner though, with Sergio Ramos clearing the ball away under no pressure at all.
BENZEMA FORCES A GOOD SAVE FROM CASILLAS!! The Real Madrid tests his club team-mate with a fizzing shot from the left-hand side of the penatly area, after he had been slipped through by a well-weighted pass from Ribery. It took a smart stop from Casillas to tip Benzema's effort round his left-hand post and out for a corner.
The referee judges Iniesta to have fouled Debuchy with a high elbow as he challenges the France right-back in the air, and the home fans don't like that one bit!
Xavi works a short corner with Iniesta on the left but then fails to get a cross into the France box. The tempo of the game has slowed since Ramos' goal that gave Spain the lead, with their midfield happy to play with the ball in the centre of the pitch at present.
Koscielny hits a high, hopeful ball towards Benzema but makeshift centre-back Busquets deals with the danger, heading the ball into the path of his defensive partner Segio Ramos.
Spain have looked comfortable in the opening half an hour here, with France yet to test Iker Casillas.
Ribery tries to test Arbeloa on the left for the visitors as they look to get back into the game immediately, but his ball control is poor and he loses possession cheaply.
Ramos nearly missed the opportunity to turn that home after putting his head in his hands when his first effort hit the post!
Goal Sergio Ramos
GOALLLL!!!! SERGIO RAMOS GIVES SPAIN THE LEAD!! Nobody marks Ramos from the corner, but he still needs two attempts to break the deadlock! His initial header crashes off the right-hand post into the feet of Pedro, who then hammers the ball back into the six-yard box. Lloris does well to parry the ball away but it goes only as far as Ramos who side-foots the ball into the roof of the net with glee.
Jordi Alba looks to have done enough to get past the challenge of Debuchy on the left for Spain but the France right-back recovers to put in a last-ditch challenge on the Barcelona full-back and nudge the ball out for a corner.
GREAT TACKLE FROM KOSCIELNY!! The France centre-back does superbly to dispossess Iniesta just outside his own penalty area as Spain looked to threaten. Fantastic defending from the Arsenal man.
MATCH STAT: Les Bleus' Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat was their first ever competitive loss to Spain. They have won their other five competitive fixtures against La Roja.
Alba didn't look too happy about that!! Sergio Ramos just wiped his team-mate out on the near side as he slid the ball out of play. Barca-Real divide?
Blaise Matuidi nearly races on to a long pass from Yohan Cabaye down the left for France, but the defensive midfielder does not quite reach the ball in time to keep it in play and it rolls over the line for a Spain throw-in.
France will want Karim Benzema to rediscover his goalscoring boots tonight. The Real Madrid forward is going through quite a drought at the moment. He hasn't score since June, against Estonia, and that is his only goal in his last 13 international appearances.
A loose pass from Iniesta to Alba causes a Spain move to break down, and although the home side go on to win the ball back, the ball eventually squirms through into the arms of Hugo Lloris.
In the midst of that action, Spain were able to finally make that change, with Santi Cazorla coming on for the injured David Silva.
INIESTA GOES DOWN IN THE BOX!! The Barcelona attacker hits the deck under a hefty challenge from Koscielny but the referee Felix Brych waves away Iniesta's appeal for a penalty, and play continues.
FINE CHALLENGE FROM BUSQUETS!! The midfielder-turned-defender puts in a timely tackle on the overlapping Evra to avert the danger and clear the ball away as France had threatened to create a shooting opportunity inside the Spain box.
Unsurprisingly as soon as I say that France win the ball, Menez helping out defensively to nick the ball off Xavi and pass it back to his defence.
The home side are keeping the ball well with just the 10 players on the pitch, and France are struggling to even get close enough to make a tackle.
Santi Cazorla comes out to warm up for Spain, and David Silva has gone straight down the tunnel towards the dressing room. La Roja down to 10 men momentarily until they can make that change.
David Silva is down clutching his right hamstring here, and that's not good news for Spain, or for Manchester City. The stretcher is coming on and Andres Iniesta appears to be gesturing to the bench that Silva is going to need to come off.
There are empty seats at the Vicente Calderon tonight which is quite a surprise considering the magnitude of this game. Two of the biggest teams in Europe, and not a sell-out!
Alvaro Arbeloa misplaces a pass in an attacking position and France look to break immediately, but Debuchy's forward ball is wayward and gifts possession back to the home side.
France look to break down on the right through Jeremy Menez, but the Paris Saint-Germain attacker cannot latch on to Laurent Koscielny's driven pass from defence, and the ball runs out for a Spain goal-kick.
Iniesta attempts to play Pedro in on the right-hand side of the France penalty area but the ball evades his team-mate and is intercepted by Patrice Evra.
Interesting to note that Spain's starting XI has only one player who doesn't play for Barcelona or Real Madrid - David Silva.
Some neat footwork from David Silva allows him to skip past a couple of French challenges on the edge of the penalty area, but his pass out to Andres Iniesta is overhit, and by the time the Barcelona man controls the ball he is crowded out by Debuchy and Mamadou Sakho.
Spain work the ball down the left-hand side but are thwarted by a strong challenge from Mathieu Debuchy the France right-back.
France get us underway here in Madrid, wearing their rather fetching all-white strip.
Out come the teams at the Vicente Calderon. We are just minutes away from kick-off here.
My Goal.com colleague Mohammed Ali tweeted a gem of a stat a few moments ago. "France's midfield of Gonalons, Matuidi and Cabaye has 29 international caps between them. Spain's midfield trio of Xavi, Iniesta and Xabi Alonso - 298 international caps." Wow. That French midfield have got a job on their hands tonight!
France on the other hand have made a fair few, and that's unsurprising after they lost 1-0 to Japan in a friendly on Friday. Franck Ribery returns in attack at the expense of Olivier Giroud, while Etienne Capoue and Moussa Sissoko make way for Maxime Gonalons and Yohan Cabaye in midfield for the away side. Patrice Evra also returns to the starting line-up for Les Bleus, with Gael Clichy the man replaced by the Manchester United left-back.
Spain make one change from their side that beat Belarus 4-0 on Friday, with Andres Iniesta replacing Santi Cazorla in midfield.
France (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Debuchy, Koscielny, Sakho, Evra; Gonalons, Matuidi, Cabaye; Ribery, Benzema, Menez
Spain (4-3-3): Casillas; Arbeloa, Busquets, Ramos, Alba; Xavi, Alonso, Iniesta; Silva, Fabregas, Pedro
Enough build-up chat, here are the starting XIs...
Spain have won their last 25 matches at home, including 17 out of 17 under Del Bosque. La Roja will also be looking to make it 25 straight qualifying wins tonight, having reached the last two tournaments with an flawless record.
France have a different coach, and a number of fresh faces at their disposal this time round, but following a 1-0 defeat to Japan in a friendly on Friday, confidence is not high, particularly when you consider their opponents this evening.
115 days ago France were comprehensively beaten by Spain in Donetsk in the quarter-finals of the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine. Xabi Alonso scored twice on his 100th appearance that night, as Les Bleus failed to trouble Iker Casillas and his defence, and Spain took another step towards retaining their European crown.
My name is Charlie Scott, and I will be doing my utmost to bring you exciting and insightful updates from the Group I match as it unfolds in Spain.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the World Cup qualifying tie between Spain and France at the Vicente Calderon in Madrid.
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