Coming up

Don't miss




No strategy and a beige suit

Read more


The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more


The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more


Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more


France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more


Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more


More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more


Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Besieged UN peacekeepers battle Islamists in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • EU leaders meet in Brussels to seek a response to Russia

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM Thabane 'flees after 'military coup'

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' against IS militants in Syria

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more


France hold Spain to 1-1 draw in World Cup qualifier

Latest update : 2012-10-17

France battled back from one goal down with a last-minute equaliser to secure a 1-1 draw against Spain in the Group 1 qualifying round of the 2014 World Cup on Tuesday in Madrid.

France substitute Olivier Giroud headed past a diving Iker Casillas with almost the last touch of the game to snatch a 1-1 draw against world champions Spain in their World Cup Group I qualifier on Tuesday.

Giroud's fine effort from Franck Ribery's centre after he had been on the pitch a matter of minutes denied the Spanish a 25th successive win in major championship qualifiers but was no more than France deserved after a gritty second-half display.

Striker Karim Benzema had said he and his team mates would be 11 warriors on the pitch and Didier Deschamps's side put a poor first-half performance behind them in which they were chasing the ball for long periods to rattle the Spanish and deny their playmakers time and space.

Sergio Ramos had put Spain ahead in the 25th minute before France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saved a weakly-struck Cesc Fabregas penalty shortly before the break.

France looked a different side in the second half and Spain were unusually ragged, the visitors almost equalising several times before Giroud leaped to nod the ball into the corner of the net in the fourth minute of added time.

There was only enough time for Spain to kick off again before the referee blew the final whistle to prompt wild celebrations from Deschamps and his men and whistling and booing from the home support.

"After all the work we put in for 90 minutes against such a tough team you are left looking a bit foolish when you concede a draw having the three points practically in the bag," Ramos told Spanish television.

"The goal was more our mistake than any merit of France's but you shouldn't blame anyone," added the Real Madrid centre back.

"We also had our chances, especially in the first half, to kill the game and we did not know how to.

"I am happy with the goal but it doesn't mean much if you don't get the three points."

Complete control

Vicente del Bosque's all-conquering Spain side looked in complete control when Ramos put them ahead after fine work from Pedro.

It was Pedro, who scored a hat-trick against Belarus on Friday, who won the penalty when he was felled by Laurent Koscielny but Fabregas sent his kick to Lloris's right at a comfortable height.

After David Silva had been forced off injured in the 13th minute, Del Bosque's plans were further disrupted when Alvaro Arbeloa limped off five minutes after the break.

Arbeloa's replacement Juanfran did not do his chances of winning a regular starting place any good when he surrendered possession and allowed France to mount the attack that led to the equaliser.

"They pressured us a lot in the second half and we gave them too much space," Del Bosque told Spanish TV.

"But that's not to take anything away from them getting the draw," he added.

Spain, who play away in France at the end of March, remain top of the group, level with the French on seven points from three matches but ahead on goal difference.

It was only their fifth draw in their last 52 competitive matches at home, with one defeat by Greece in Zaragoza in June 2003, while Casillas missed the chance to become the first Spain goalkeeper to feature in 10 consecutive games without conceding.

New belief

France were the last team to eliminate Spain from a major tournament, knocking them out in the last 16 of the 2006 World Cup, but the Spanish won their most recent competitive meeting 2-0 in the last eight of Euro 2012.

Deschamps appears to have instilled a new belief in the squad since taking over from Laurent Blanc after Euro 2012 and they were a far more impressive side than the side that limped out of Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup.

"It would have been unfair (to lose)," the former France captain told a news conference.

"We could certainly have won but one minute before the end of the game, we were also still losing," he noted.

"We need to get more points against other teams but direct games (between France and Spain) will be key."

In other Group I action on Tuesday, Belarus got their first points with a 2-0 win at home to Georgia, while Finland, who complete the five-nation group, did not play.



Date created : 2012-10-16

  • Football - 2014 World Cup

    France promise to take fight to World champions Spain

    Read more