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World Cup qualifying preview: Spain v France

Andres Iniesta has stressed the importance of maintaining a high level of play as Spain prepare to face France in a World Cup qualifier.

Vicente del Bosque’s side have enjoyed vast success in recent years, winning back-to-back European Championships and the 2010 World Cup.

The Spaniards face France on Tuesday night in a crucial World Cup qualifier in Madrid with both sides looking to make it three-wins-from-three in Group I and the Barcelona man was quick to recognise the magnitude of the encounter in the context of the group.

“It is not easy for a team after winning a World Cup and European Championship to continue with the same dynamic and to remain concentrated,” Iniesta told reporters.

“But the group of players is the same and we have to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil.

“You feel privileged to be at this point with club and country. The team came together at a young age and that gave us a great advantage. I’m happy because I like what I do.

“The game we have on Tuesday is of great importance as France are direct rivals for qualification.”

Spain defeated France in their most recent encounter – a 2-0 win at the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

And while the French prepare to meet the double world and European champions, manager Didier Deschamps is confident of a positive result, despite their shock 1-0 loss against Japan on Friday.

“Our main goal is to qualify for the World Cup, but let’s be honest, we are in a group where on Tuesday we will play against the best team in the world,” Deschamps said.

“Whatever you say, they are the best team in the world, that is a fact.

“But anything is possible in football. We will go out there with our own abilities and weaknesses, knowing that we have the best players in France and we’ll see that during the game.

“It is not a question about some talent or a generation of players. We have a world ranking that shows where we are today and it is not just because of what we’ve done in the past.”

On the injury front, Sergio Busquets is expected to partner Sergio Ramos at the heart of Spain’s defence in the absence of injured Barcelona duo Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol.

For France, Patrice Evra and Yohan Cabaye will be available for selection according to Deschamps after the pair recovered from back and rib injuries respectively.

Mon 15 October, 2012
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