France will play like warriors against Spain: Benzema

Reuters, Tuesday 16 Oct 2012

France will field 11 warriors intent on proving Spain are not unbeatable when they play the world and European champions in a World Cup qualifier in Madrid on Tuesday, according to striker Karim Benzema


Benzema, who plays with Spanish internationals including Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso at Real Madrid, said he believed the Iberian nation were the best side in the world but insisted France had the weapons to compete.

"It's not impossible," the 24-year-old told a news conference at Atletico Madrid's Calderon stadium where the Group I clash will take place.

"It will require hard work," he added. "We will be 11 warriors on the pitch."

France have a fine record against Spain in competitive matches, winning five of the seven meetings between the European neighbours, drawing one and losing one.

However, their only defeat came in the most recent clash, at Euro 2012 in June, when Alonso scored both goals in a 2-0 quarter-final success for Vicente del Bosque's side.

Spain are on a 24-match winning run in major championship qualifiers and last failed to take three points in a 1-1 draw with Iceland in September 2007.

It is almost 10 years since they last lost a qualifier at home, a 1-0 loss to Greece in Zaragoza in June 2003.

France coach Didier Deschamps said it would be essential for his players to defend well as a unit in Tuesday's game and they were likely to have to chase the ball for long periods against the possession-hungry Spanish.

"We also have to be able to bring the ball out well and then take what chances we get efficiently," added the former France captain, who turned 44 on Monday.

"I am convinced that coming here and thinking only about defending is not a solution," he said.

"When you play Spain you know you are going to suffer whatever happens. It's the same for all teams."

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