What: 2014 World Cup Qualifying – Group I
Who: France vs Spain
When: Tuesday 26th March, 2013, at 20:00 UK Time
Where: Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France

Ready for Spain

France’s win over Georgia, coupled with Spain’s surprise draw against Finland, allowed Les Bleus to topple the current world champions as leaders of Group I. While there is much to play for, France will have the feeling of being in control now as they welcome Vicente del Bosque’s men to the Stade de France, home of the 1998 FIFA World Cup final between themselves and Brazil.

The hosts have only won once in their last six meetings with Spain, and that was back in June 2006 as they were carving their way to the FIFA World Cup final. Since then, a lot has changed for Les Bleus, but coach Didier Deschamps feels that his side will not content themselves with just absorbing their foes when the two meet.

“To play Spain and think of defending is not the solution”, declared the ex-Marseille manager following his side’s win against Georgia.

Yet opting to fight fire with fire could prove to be disastrous for France. The home side do not have the men and style necessary to combat Spain’s tiki-taka, and a more pragmatic approach to the match might be needed should they want to have a serious chance of making it two disappointments in a row for the Spaniards.


What seemed to be an easy contest for European and world champions Spain against Finland ended in disenchantment for the world’s number one ranked national side, as they conceded a late goal against their Scandinavian opponents which resulted in a 1-1 draw. Having lost the leadership of Group I, they have the chance to regain it as they face the 2000 European Championship winners.

Few in the Spanish camp were expecting such an ending to the game against Finland, with one local newspaper “AS” headlining “Finlandazo” the next day. Speaking after the game, Del Bosque rued his side’s misses, claiming that his players needed to be more clinical.
“I think we failed to finish off the game with the second goal. We could have been more clinical in front of goal but to not have won is too big a punishment”, explained the ex-Real Madrid boss.

The visitors will be missing Jordi Alba and David Silva, with the former suffering an injury and the latter serving a suspension as a result of a yellow card accumulation. The Manchester City playmaker’s abilities might be greatly missed in Saint-Denis, as his team hope to return home as group leaders.

Recent form

Spain 1-1 France (16/10; World Cup qualifiers)
France 1-2 Germany (06/02; Friendly)
France 3-1 Georgia (22/03; World Cup qualifiers)

Spain 1-1 France (16/10; World Cup qualifiers)
Spain 3-1 Uruguay (06/02; Friendly)
Spain 1-1 Finland (22/03; World Cup qualifiers)

Players to watch

France – Raphael Varane: The young defender made his France debut with an assured display against Georgia, but will find things much harder against an attacking side such as Spain. Already a star in the making, a composed showing on the night would make it hard for Deschamps to keep him out of the starting eleven.

Spain – Sergio Ramos: Ramos capped off his 100th game for La Roja with the opening goal against Finland. In addition, he has scored in two of Spain’s last three games against France and will certainly be hard to deal with, both in attack and defence.

Match Prediction

France will be motivated following the two sides’ last results. However, Spain rarely fail twice in a row, and will want to show up and reclaim group leadership at the Stade de France. Expect both teams to cancel each other out however. France 1-1 Spain.

Ready to bet on France v Spain? Don't before you've read our betting preview!