Search

Arsenal and Spurs stars shine as France rescue point against Spain

22:27 16 October 2012

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Olivier Giroud’s header deep into stoppage time salvaged a deserved draw for France against world champions Spain in Madrid and ended the hosts’ run of 24 consecutive qualifying victories.

Sergio Ramos had fired home after his initial effort had come off the post in the 26th minute to give Spain the lead but they were left to rue Cesc Fabregas’ missed penalty just before half-time as the visitors took control of the game after the break.

Karim Benzema and Moussa Sissoko looked to have squandered France’s best chances to claim a point as they missed clear openings late on but with the last attack of the game Franck Ribery crossed for Giroud to head low into the far corner.

The draw means that both sides remain locked together at the top of Group I with seven points from three games.

As expected Vicente del Bosque had made just the one change from the side that started the 4-0 victory over Belarus on Friday as Andres Iniesta replaced Santi Cazorla, but the Arsenal midfielder was forced into action after just 10 minutes when David Silva had to come off with an injury.

Cazorla even had the first effort on goal after a slow start but his low drive was easily held by Hugo Lloris, but French boss Didier Deschamps will have been hugely frustrated that after comfortably soaking up the hosts’ usual probing they conceded such a sloppy goal from a set-piece midway through the half.

Xavi’s corner found Ramos completely unmarked just six yards from goal and after his initial header came back off the post, the defender was on hand to turn the ball high into the net when Pedro pulled it back across the area.

The goal though forced France forward and they were very nearly level 10 minutes later when Benzema was released by Ribery but his cross-shot could not beat his Real Madrid teammate Iker Casillas as the Spain captain turned the ball behind for a corner.

France threatened again moments later when Jeremy Menez was ruled narrowly offside when he prodded in Benzema’s knock down from Yohan Cabaye’s free-kick, but the visitors were then thankful to Lloris to only be 1-0 down at the break.

The Tottenham goalkeeper first produced a fine save down to his right to parry Fabregas’ penalty after Laurent Koscielny had clattered into Pedro inside the area and three minutes later the French skipper saved his side again as he denied fierce efforts from Pedro and Fabregas inside the area.

Spain’s start to the second period was disrupted just as it was in the first by an early injury as this time Alvaro Arbeloa limped off, replaced by Juanfran, and that change seemed to give Ribery some encouragement as he attacked with far more purpose than he had before the break.

The Bayern Munich playmaker saw a shot deflected just wide on 58 minutes before Koscielny failed to make a clean connection to turn in the resulting corner.

Fabregas and Xavi then had chances to seal the points but both were denied by last ditch French defending as they bore down on goal.

Benzema really ought to have brought Deschamps’ men level as he somehow miscued from Ribery’s fantastic cross with the goal at his mercy from five yards.

France continued to threaten though with Benzema’s movement in particular causing all sorts of problems and he teed up another great chance for substitute Sissoko 17 minutes from time but the Toulouse midfielder blazed his volley over.

Benzema was eventually forced off himself with a knock two minutes from the end but it turned out to be a fortunate change for Deschamps as, with his only real involvement in the game, Giroud delicately directed Ribery’s pinpoint cross into the net.

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

10:39

School unveil new rugby shirts at Twickenham

08:30

Freddie Ljungberg has left his youth coaching job at Arsenal to join former Gunners academy supremo Andries Jonker at Wolfsburg who also quit his role.

19 minutes ago

Saracens’ rising star Max Malins is relishing his fast-track development into the senior side after another appearance in the 29-18 win over Sale Sharks.

Tottenham Hotspur will face London rivals Chelsea in the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup after a crazy 5-3 victory over Newcastle United at St James’ Park.

Hendon’s Haruhi Nakatani got her season off to a winning start as she grabbed top spot in the opening Super Six event on British Junior Golf Tour.

Hampstead Ladies’ second team made it three wins on the bounce with a 43-15 success over Kilburn Cosmos.

Yesterday, 16:30

Wingate & Finchley’s determination was evident again as a 2-1 win lifted them above Leiston and into the Ryman League Premier Division play-offs.

Yesterday, 12:36

There are always talking points when you’re a Tottenham fan, even after a crushing 4-0 home victory over Stoke City at White Hart Lane. Our reporter Neil Metcalfe looked at five from his point of view.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now