France Vs Spain
Mar 26, 2013 at 8pm (UK)
On Tuesday, Spain take on France in Paris as they look to take another step towards Brazil 2014. The defending champions are currently second in their group, 2 points behind their next opponents, France – who sit at the top of the table with 10 points from 4 games. Talk from the Spain camp suggest Xavi and Xabi Alonso will be starting on Tuesday.
The two midfielders are essential components to the Spanish national team, bringing order, experience and a lot of skill to the side. The Barcelona man has totally recovered from a muscle strain that kept him out of Barca’s game against Rayo Vallecano and last week’s 1-1 draw with Finland. Meanwhile, Xabi Alonso who has been suffering pain in his pubis for the last two months and was short on his training sessions has been able to complete in the last two days, indicating that he will be in Del Bosque’s first XI. Spain’s last outing against Finland finished in a draw, after Teemu Pukki scored 11 minutes from time to grab his side the equaliser. This result has put the holders under pressure to get a win over France this Tuesday.
The last time these two met, the match ended in a 1-1 and Les Blues head into the Paris showdown fresh from a 3-1 win over Georgia. Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Valbuena and Franck Ribery were all in the score-sheet that night. France obviously have the upper hand, but entering the match against the World cup winners they cannot afford to be complacent as the loser will have to take the long route of a 2 legged play-off before entering next year’s World cup.
It is expected that Deschamps will drop Real Madrid hit-man Karim Benzema as he endured yet another poor outing last week. The real headache for the manager will be the with the selection of his youngsters Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane. Both had a briliant game against Georgia last week but the real question lies whether they are ready to face the World champions. Else where Arenal striker Giroud should keep his place.
For Spain it will be interesting to see whether Del Bosque continues to play the false 9 with Fabregas in the advanced role or he will opt for David Villa. However the return of midfield duo Xavi and Xabi will be a great boost to the team which is in desperate need for all the 3 points .
Possible starting lineups:
France: Lloris, Cristophe Jallet, Varane, Sakho, Clichy, Yohann Cabaye, Matuidi, Valbuena, Benzema, Ribery, Giroud
Spain: Valdes, Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Monreal, Busquets, Xavi, Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Cazorla, Villa
- Les Bleus have won just one of their last six encounters against Spain, losing four.
- Mathieu Valbuena (pictured, right) has scored three goals in his last three appearances for France.
- Spain are on a 19-match unbeaten run (W14, D5) stretching back to November 2011
- France are on a 13-match unbeaten run in World Cup and European Championship qualifiers (W9, D4).
- The Iberian outfit have won their last four away matches, including friendlies.
- Vicente del Bosque overtook Ladislao Kubala’s record for overseeing the most number of games as Spain boss in Friday’s qualifier against Finland. The 62-year-old has taken charge of 69 internationals, winning 57.