Spain could have been awarded a penalty in the 32nd minute when Pedro broke free of the hosts' defence and when he knocked the ball past Hugo Lloris the keeper brought him down without taking the ball. However, no spot kick was awarded.
After half time, Lloris was called into action to make a good stop to deny Andres Iniesta as he latched onto Xabi Alonso's through-ball and smashed the ball goalwards but the keeper got a hand to the ball to tip it over.
This was to be crucial as Spain took the lead in the 58th minute when Pedro bundled the ball into the net from close range after France had failed to clear the danger from Monreal's cross from the left.
France looked to get back in the game immediately as the ball was launched forward towards Ribery, who held off the challenge of two defenders before passing to Blaise Matuidi, but the midfielder could only shoot straight at Valdes.
The home side's efforts to get an equaliser became harder when Paul Pogba was shown a red card for two bookable offences in the matter of seconds for a high challenge on Alonso, then a late tackle on Xaxi.
Despite being reduced to 10 men, France kept pushing forward and Valdes had to make a good save to deny Patrice Evra as his header looked destined for the back of the net as he met Mathieu Valbuena's free kick.