Search

Arsenal and Spurs stars shine as France rescue point against Spain

22:27 16 October 2012

Arsenal

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 Sport Stories

17:00
Hornsey's no 11 Kenny Tuitt shared a key last-wicket partnership with Neneto Davis to turn around their game against Eastcote. Pic: Max Flego

Hornsey’s Chetan Patel believes his side have turned the corner after they came close to inflicting a first defeat of the season on league leaders Eastcote in Division Two of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Enfield players remonstrate with the umpire after he reverses a decision and gives Brondesbury batsman Will Russell (left) not out. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Brondesbury had an “odd day at the office” on Saturday, with the umpires having to consult with each other over three decisions in their home defeat to Enfield to Division Two of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

13:54
Paulinho has left Tottenham

Tottenham have confirmed that Paulinho has departed to be reunited with his former international manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, joining Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande.

10:35
James Franklin

We don’t have Steven Finn with us at the moment, but the guys leading our attack are great bowlers in their own right, all match-winners.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our monthly newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder