There’s no doubt who is the better side; Spain are a much better football team than France. But being wasteful for an entire match, despite the huge quality (and quite shocking) quality advantage, allows Olivier Giroud to score an equalizer out of nowhere, stealing a point in Madrid.
About 65 minutes of complete possession and chances domination, and Spain could only come up with one goal. Well, it was similar to their Euro encounter only then France didn’t try to counter what was happening on the field for the entire 90 minutes, eventually losing 2-0. This time, they defended with 11 men in their own half for most of the match, but Deschamps did make some changes that added aggression and pressure, finding holes and flaws in the rigid Spanish plan.
Things would have been different if Cesc Fabregas would have scored that penalty kick, foolishly given to Spain by Laurent Koscielny, demonstrating his bad timing and lack of thinking once again. Jeremy Menez did score a goal that should have been allowed, but that was one of only three-four times that France actually made it into the Spanish half during the first 45 minutes.
Hugo Lloris, no other words. I don’t understand how it’s even a discussion over there in North London regarding who should start, Lloris or Friedel. Sure, Friedel is consistent in his performances at the age of 41, but he just doesn’t bring to the table what the French captain does, making some incredible saves during the first half, not to mention the penalty stop.
It’s incredible to watch France look so defeated from the start. No attempt to break the pressure, and no attempt to create pressure themselves. The midfield trio Cabaye, Matuidi and Gonalons had no effect on the match at all, but France didn’t have any options on the wings, as Menez and Benzema were completely separated from the rest of the team. Only when Valbuena stepped in did things start to take a different shape, and Franck Ribery was felt for the first time in the match, noted for something that wasn’t a foul.
Spain? You can’t play any better than they did in the first half and for certain parts in the second. But they took their foot off the gas and attacked a tad unwisely in the second half, letting the match be drawn into a pace and style comfortable for France. In the end, it was a bit of luck that gave France the point through Olivier Giroud’s header. It’s never too bad to have some, especially when you’re the inferior side.