Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the highly-anticipated World Cup qualifier between Spain and France at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
By Joe Fish, Reporter Filed: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 19:35 UK
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 23:13 UK
Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of tonight's World Cup qualifying match between Spain and France in Madrid.
The contest at the Vicente Calderon Stadium pits two of Europe's footballing heavyweights against each other, with Spain both the reigning world and European champions, while Les Bleus also won the titles back-to-back in 1998 and 2000.
Both nations have won their opening two Group I matches and will be looking to make top spot their own when they meet in a rematch of the Euro 2012 quarter-final.
The hosts have never lost a World Cup qualifier on their own turf in 43 outings, while they have won their last 25 matches in all competitions.
As far as qualifying matches go, it doesn't get much bigger than this! Please note that kickoff is at 8pm.
10.10pmThat is it from me for this evening. Check back in with Sports Mole later for a more in-depth analysis of the match, while a full-time report on the contest can be found here. Thanks for joining us tonight. Goodbye, Adios, Au Revoir.
10.05pmSpain still top Group I on goal difference, but this is a great result for France in this two-horse race for automatic World Cup qualification.
10.00pmWhat a finish to this clash of the European titans. Sergio Ramos had put the World champions ahead, before Hugo Lloris kept Les Bleus in the contest with a fine penalty stop from Cesc Fabregas. Olivier Giroud's late header earned France a valuable point away from home, which could be crucial when they come to face Spain in the return fixture at the end of their campaign.
9.53pmGOAL! Late drama at the Vicente Calderon as Giroud heads in an equaliser with the last action of the match. It is a sloppy mistake from substitute Juanfran, in-front of his home fans, which resulted in the goal. The full-back tried to dribble his way out of trouble in his own half, but was dispossessed by Sissoko, who travelled with the ball before releasing Ribery down the left. The Bayern winger crosses for Giroud, who does well to direct a difficult header into the far corner. Cue ecstatic celebrations from the France bench and silence from the home crowd, who have witnessed Spain fail to win at home for the first time in 25 matches.
90 minLloris launches the ball into the box from deep, but it is eventually cleared by Alba, and Cazorla chases it down to waste vital seconds for the hosts.
90 minWe are now entering stoppage time, of which there will be three minutes, with Spain hanging on in truth.
90 minNervous moments for Spain as Matuidi latches on to a Cabaye through pass, and cuts the ball back into a vacant danger zone. No gamblers on the French team...
87 minSubstitution: That knock to the knee has ended Benzema's involvement and with it, possibly France's hopes of an equaliser. Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud is on in his place.
85 minBenzema and Busquets collide when jumping for an aerial ball. The former has come away limping, but surprisingly Busquets isn't making a big deal out of the situation!
83 minOutrageous from Busquets, who Cruyff turns in the box under pressure from two harassing French attackers. Skills.
81 minEntering the last ten minutes here, with France in the ascendancy as they search for an equaliser...
80 minGood work from Ribery down the left. The Bayern Munich winger twists and turns his way past Juanfran, stands a cross up to the back post which is partially cleared to Sissoko. The Toulouse midfielder lays the ball into Benzema, but he drags his left-footed shot wide.
78 minTorres's first involvement is a positive one as he cleverly turns away from Cabaye and then skips past Sakho, only for Koscielny to rob him of the ball.
75 minSubstitution: Spain's final substitution is greeted with the loudest cheer of the night. Andres Iniesta makes way for Fernando Torres, who returns to the Vicente Calderon for the first time since leaving Atletico for Liverpool in 2007.
73 minGreat chance for France! Ramos is furious as the assistant fails to give Benzema offside from Cabaye's lofted pass. The Real Madrid striker collects the ball, cuts inside and stands up a cross for the onrushing Sissoko at the back post, but the substitute sends his first-time volley well over the crossbar. Wasteful.
72 minMore fine work from Alba down the Spain left, but his cutback is just behind Pedro and France can now launch an attack. This game is now very open, unrecognisable from the Spanish passing exhibition of the first half.
71 minThat substitution should allow Mathieu Valbuena to take up a more advanced position. The Marseille winger has barely had a touch since his introduction a quarter-of-an-hour ago.
69 minSubstitution: That will be Menez's last involvement tonight as he is pulled off and replaced by Moussa Sissoko.
67 minBenzema, who was denied by a last-ditch Alba tackle a few minutes back after Ribery had fizzed a low ball across the six-yard box, is once again in the action. He shifts the ball past Ramos and fires a similar cross towards Menez at the back post, but it is just out of the Frenchman's reach.
65 minAnother example of Lloris's lightning reactions as he foils Fabregas after the former Arsenal captain was put through one-on-one by Juanfran's through pass.
64 minJordi Alba is very quick and somehow collects Cazorla's over-hit through pass and delivers a first-time cross, which is gathered by Lloris before the awaiting Fabregas can get on the end of it.
62 minThe game is starting to become stretched as Spain immediately go up the other end and have an opportunity of their own. They attack in numbers and Pedro eventually lays the ball into Xavi, but his first touch is a little heavy and Lloris charges out to intercept.
60 minAnother half chance for Les Bleus as Spain uncharacteristically give the ball away, allowing Matuidi to thread through Benzema, but the striker is denied by a well-timed Xabi Alonso tackle.
57 minGood effort from Ribery! Blaise Matuidi plays the ball inside to Ribery, who shifts it onto his right foot before shooting into the side netting. The effort took a deflection off Sergio Busquets on its way behind. Corner.
55 minSubstitution: France make the first of their three allocated changes, and it is a positive one as Mathieu Valbuena replaces Maxime Gonalons.
53 minFirst involvement for Juanfran in-front of his enthusiastic home crowd. Cazorla finds the Atletico Madrid full back, who makes an overlapping run before his cross is turned away by Evra.
51 minExcellent counter-attacking play from France as Ribery sends an outside-of-the-foot pass to Menez, who directs a delightful first-time flick on towards Benzema. However, Jordi Alba comes across to cover and earns a free kick which halts France in their stride.
49 minSubstitution: The change is made with Juanfran on for Arbeloa, who joins fellow Los Blancos full-backs Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao on the list of Real Madrid players to have picked up injuries during the international break.
47 minMore bad injury news for Spain, and Real Madrid, as Alvaro Arbeola pulls up with a muscle strain. Home favourite Juanfran is going to be the replacement next time the ball goes out of play.
9.04pmThe players have recovered from the manic last five minutes of the opening period to resume the action. Spain get us underway in this second half...
8.55pmHALF-TIME: An eventful end to a first half that had otherwise been dominated by long spells of Spain possession. Menez thinks, and with justification, that he has earned France parity with a close-range header, but his effort was ruled out despite Ramos, who had earlier put Spain ahead, appearing to play him onside. Captain Hugo Lloris then maintained France's one-goal deficit by saving a Fabregas penalty, which came as a result of a clumsy Koscielny challenge on Pedro. Spain deservedly lead, but there is plenty of running left in this one.
44 minFine double save from Lloris! The Spurs keeper has kept France in this game with a brilliant two-minute spell of goalkeeping. Firstly he saves well from Pedro after Xavi had played in his Barca teammate with a delightful chipped pass, before reacting quickly to turn Fabregas's rebound effort round the post.
42 minPenalty saved! Great stop from Hugo Lloris! Cesc Fabregas is the chosen spot-kick taker for Spain and he strikes it powerfully, but Lloris guesses the right way and pushes the ball to safety. Relief for Koscielny as his north London rival spares his blushes.
40 minPenalty to Spain! Absolute stonewall penalty awarded to the hosts as Koscielny hacks down Pedro in the area. Nightmare 60 seconds for France.
39 minGoal disallowed! France have a goal ruled out for offside. Cabaye's fine delivery finds Benzema at the back post and his header across goal is converted by an unmarked Menez. However, the assistant raises his flag before the PSG winger can begin his celebrations.
38 minFree-kick in a promising position for France as Alba brings down the dribbling Menez.
37 minTidy play from Pedro, who cuts in from the Spanish left before skipping past Debuchy and laying the ball back for Iniesta. This time the Barca playmaker makes good contact, but the shot is wayward and flies harmlessly wide of Lloris's net.
35 minNo substitution required for Les Bleus however as the Lille full-back, who was a reported transfer target of Newcastle over the summer, rises to his feet with nothing worse than a grimaced expression on his face.
34 minFrance now have an injury problem of their own, with Debuchy the man down after taking a knee in the back from Alba.
32 minFirst chance for France as they catch Spain on the break. Ribery finds Benzema with a simple pass which surprisingly opens up the home defence. Benzema runs at Busquets before firing in a low shot which Casillas parries away to safety.
29 minIf it wasn't already before, this is now a real uphill task for France. Spain will now be able to keep possession as only they can with the luxury of a one-goal lead. The first goal was very important tonight, and now that Spain have got it, France could be in trouble...
27 minPoor, poor defending from the French there, who left Ramos completely free for his original headed effort, and then stood and watched with equal generosity as he slotted in his second bite at the cherry.
26 minGOAL! Spain 1-0 France Who needs a striker when you have a goalscoring central defender? Ramos puts Spain in-front at the second attempt. After initially seeing his unmarked header cannon back off the post, Ramos takes his hands off his head just in time to convert the return ball into the box.
22 minWhat a rare sight that is! A misskick from Andres Iniesta. The Barcelona midfielder picked up the ball after a short corner routine caught France off-guard. Iniesta does the hard work, evading two French challenges before completing miss-hitting his intended shot, which barely trickles over the byline.
20 minFull-back Jordi Alba has probably been Spain's biggest attacking threat, but his most recent surge down the left results in a cross blocked by Debuchy.
18 minYou may have noticed that I am waffling on a bit here, but in truth, that is because there is so little going on in Madrid. Plenty of patient Spain possession without reward so far.
16 minCazorla has made a very bright start to his Arsenal career since moving to the Gunners from Malaga in the summer. In-fact, no player in the top five European leagues has created more chances from open play than the Spaniard.
14 minThat will be a blow for Spain, but such is the high quality of their squad that they are able to replace one creative talent with another.
12 minSubstitution: Cazorla does a very brief, Sunday league-like warm-up, which consists of a few sprints down the touchline. The change is now made, Cazorla on for Silva.
10 minTeammate Andreas Iniesta makes the spinning-hand gesture that has become an international signal for a substitution. Silva leaves the field and heads straight down the tunnel. Del Bosque leaves his seat to instruct Santi Cazorla to warm up.
8 minA delay in play here as Silva goes down with an injury, what I cannot quite identify, but things don't look good for the Manchester City playmaker.
6 minSilva, Fabregas and Iniesta exchange several short passes on the edge of the box before Debuchy intercepts and launches a counter attack for the hosts. His cross-field ball intended for Frank Ribery is cut out by Alvaro Arbeloa.
4 minThis match has started just as I expected it too, plenty of Spain possession along the back four and in midfield.
2 minLovely footwork from Fabregas, as he dodges two French challenges before a slightly heavy touch allows Mamadou Sakho to get a tackle in.
7.59pmLikewise the Spain anthem, although the home Madrid crowd certainly weren't shy of opening their vocal chords. The stadium was rocking- they are as excited as me for this one! Kickoff imminent...
7.57pmThe France national anthem blasts out from the Vicente Calderon speakers. I can't say I know the words well enough to sing along...
7.55pmNo problems with the weather here, we are just five minutes away from the highly-anticipated kickoff.
7.53pmHe will be looking to provide the crosses for lone frontman Karim Benzema, who is up against several of his Madrid teammates tonight.
7.52pmWhile Mathieu Valbuena is benched in favour of Paris Saint-Germain winger Jeremy Menez on the right flank.
7.50pmMidfielder Maxime Gonalons is preferred to Etienne Capua in the centre of the park...
7.48pmA couple of surprises in the France team named by Didier Deschamps, who has matched Spain's 4-3-3 formation.
7.45pmIn the absence of Torres, or any recognised striker for that matter, Cesc Fabregas is expected to play in a more advanced role, with Silva and Pedro providing attacking support from the flanks.
7.44pmSergio Ramos has recovered from the knock he picked up in the 4-0 win over Belarus to start in central defence alongside namesake Busquets.
7.43pmManchester City's David Silva is the odd one out and thus the sole Premier League representative in Vincente Del Bosque's starting XI. Chelsea's Fernando Torres is among the substitutes, as is Arsenal's Santi Cazorla.
7.42pmIt is the usual story for Spain, who consist of 10 players that represent either Barcelona or Real Madrid at club level, which largely explains why they are so good.