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Match Analysis: Spain 1-1 France

Match Analysis: Spain 1-1 France
© 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.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina22131247
United StatesUnited States19201352
JapanJapan175830
AustraliaAustralia1331430
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151238
Great BritainGreat Britain9101231
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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Pre-Season Friendlies
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Belarusian Premier League
2.Bundesliga
Major League Soccer
Brasileiro
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX
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