Match Analysis: Spain 1-1 France

Hugo Lloris
© PA Photos
Sports Mole analyses the World Cup qualifier between Spain and France, where Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud snatched a late point for Les Bleus.

Olivier Giroud struck deep into stoppage time to earn France a valuable 1-1 draw with Group I rivals Spain in their World Cup qualifier at the Vicente Calderon Stadium this evening.

Despite the result, Spain still sit top of the pool, ahead of France on goal difference, although Les Bleus now arguably have the advantage in the two-horse race for a place at Brazil 2014.

Here, Sports Mole analyses whether France warranted their late equaliser, which ended Spain's 25-match winning run at home.

Match statistics:

Spain:
Shots 9
On target 5
Possession 65%
Corners 8
Fouls 11

France:
Shots 8
On target 4
Possession 35%
Corners 3
Fouls 17

Was the result fair?

On the balance of things, yes. Spain ran the show in the first period but failed to create much from open play. Sergio Ramos's opener reflected the possession stats, but France were more of a goalscoring threat than the hosts in the second half and deserved a point for their brave efforts.

Spain's performance

Below-par, but of course, par is such a high standard for Spain. Controlled the ball well in midfield as they always do, but were one-dimensional and struggled to open up the France defensive to find what would have been a decisive second. It worked during Euro 2012, but the lack of a recognised striker hurt Vicente del Bosque tonight.

France's performance

They were particularly brave when chasing the game and not afraid to commit men forward in search of an equaliser, which can always be dangerous against such high-class opposition. However, Didier Deschamps will be furious about the defending for Spain's goal, where Ramos was twice unmarked with the goal at his mercy.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Hugo Lloris: Frank Ribery and Karim Benzema were the focal point of France's improved second-half display, but the confidence they had to attack was largely brought about from Lloris's heroics at the end of the first. The Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper saved a Cesc Fabregas spot kick to ensure his side didn't fall 2-0 behind, and then produced a handful of other fine stops, as well as being very quick off his line and flawless with his handling. This performance will stand him in good stead on his return to Spurs too. Nothing like saving a penalty from a former Arsenal favourite to get you over with the White Hart Lane fans!

Referee performance

Felix Brych was hit and miss when it came to the big calls tonight. The German correctly awarded Spain a penalty when Laurent Koscielny clattered Pedro, but his assistant ruled Jeremy Menez's goal offside during the first half when the advantage should probably have gone to the attacker.

What next?

Spain: A friendly against Panama in November, before they return to competitive action in a qualifying double header against France and Finland in March 2013.

France: Firstly, celebrations. Then a pair of testing friendlies against another two of Europe's footballing heavyweights, Italy and Germany, in November and February respectively.

Sergio Ramos
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