This Thursday, September 4, 2014, France will play host to the current European champions, Spain, at Stade de France in Paris on a match that will provide the visitors with an opportunity to prepare their Euro 2016 Qualifier against Macedonia that will take place earlier next week.
After a miserable stint at the World Cup, Spain need to get back on their feet immediately, unless they want to risk throwing away many years of hard and competent work. La Roja’s manager, Vicente Del Bosque, who survived the World Cup nightmare, is carrying on a “silent” revolution on the Spanish squad as he is bringing in new players to replace those who retired from international football and others he left behind because he decided so.
AC Milan’s forward Fernando Torres, United’s playmaker Juan Mata and the new Bayern Munich goalkeeper Pepe Keeper were all omitted from the Del Bosque’s list while several others, such as Piqué, Iniesta and Javi Martinez will miss both matches due to injury.
The so-called tiki-taka game style that catapulted the Spanish Armada to a different level requires high quality maintenance and it is fair to say that Del Bosque and his staff were not able to live up to such demanding. The absence of Xavi and Xabi Alonso, who recently retired from international football, will seriously compromise the continuation of the game style the Spanish have displayed over the last years and it is up to Del Bosque to find proper replacements among the immense lot of talented midfielders the Spanish football has been producing over the last decade.
As for France, Les Bleus are on an opposite direction than the one of the Spanish team as they are already carrying on a slow renovation of their squad. The good days from Zinedine Zidane, Youri Djorkaeff and Thierry Henry are long gone and France have struggled to take a strong stand both at World Cup tournaments and at European Championships. Nevertheless, Les Bleus managed to put up some quality and consistent displays last summer in Brazil and they seem to be on the right path for success.
An excellent income of young skilled footballers is probably the main cause behind this “rejuvenation” of the French team, and it is fair to say that, despite being the target of constant criticism, Didier Deschamps also deserves his share of credit for the development of this new generation of players.
Deschamps remained faithful to his World Cup choices as he only brought in three new players for the two friendly matches the French team will take part in over the next days. Steve Mandanda, Alexandre Lacazette and recent Barcelona’s signing Jeremy Mathieu are the new faces in the team, replacing Mickael Landreau, who hanged his gloves, and Giroud and Koscielny, both sidelined due to injury.
France vs Spain Prediction
Although one might consider Spain favourites for the next Thursday’s match, one cannot rule out this ambitious French side, which wants to restore its place among the top teams of the world of football. This being said, the most likely outcome is 1-1.
France (4-3-3) – Lloris – Debuchy – Mathieu – Varane – Evra – Cabaye – Matuidi – Pogba – Griezmann – Valbuena – Benzema
Spain (4-3-3) – Casillas – Azpilicueta – Sergio Ramos – Bartra – Jordi Alba – Busquets – Fàbregas – Isco – Cazorla – Koke – Diego Costa
France vs Spain TV Schedule
The France vs Spain match will be televised on ESPN Deportes at 12:00 PM Pacific.