Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud became the first man to score past Iker Casillas in seven internationals as he earned France an invaluable draw in Madrid last night.
Spain were heading for victory No 25 in World Cup or European Championship qualifying but Giroud's headed goal with the last touch of the game gave France a well-earned drawn that also owed much to the Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris's brilliant first-half display.
There were 94 minutes on the clock when the ball hit the back of Casillas' net; 87 minutes had already passed when Giroud replaced the injured Karim Benzema but with Juanfran gifting Franck Ribéry possession his cross was converted the Arsenal forward.
Spain had taken lead through Sergio Ramos from Xabi Alonso's corner on 25 minutes. He headed the kick on to a post and when it came back out to him he thrashed the ball into the roof of Lloris's net. The keeper's miserable start to life at Spurs has left his position in the France side questioned but he was to emerge as the hero in the minutes that followed.
France should have equalised when Jérémy Menez turned a Benzema header over the line from a Yohan Cabaye free-kick only for the linesman to incorrectly rule the goal offside. Spain then won a penalty when Laurent Koscielny clattered into Pedro but Lloris saved Cesc Fabregas's spot kick. The Spurs man then turned Pedro's effort away after he had been put through by Xavi.
A first-half hamstring injury to David Silva was the only blight on the first 45 minutes for the world champions with the Manchester City man going off on the quarter hour, replaced by Arsenal's Santi Cazorla. City's Champions League opponents Real Madrid were to suffer similar bad news in the second half when they lost Alvaro Arbeloa, which completes an unwanted full-house for Jose Mourinho – three full-backs on international duty and all three reporting back injured. Juanfran's inability to deal with Ribéry was to prove crucial. First Casillas denied Benzema three times late on as France pushed forward for the equalizer. With Spain pegged back the home fans called for Fernando Torres who had opened his heart this week admitting his attitude was wrong at Chelsea last season.
He waited for the opportunity to roll back the years as France kept pouring forward and Benzema kept being foiled by Casillas and finally on 73 minutes the chance came, only for him to miscontrol in the area as Xavi put him through. Casillas continued to keep France at bay until Giroud's moment.
Spain Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Arbeloa, Jordi Alba, Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas, Alonso, Busquets, Silva, Pedro.
France Lloris, Koscielny, Debuchy, Evra, Sakho, Valbuena, Cabaye, Gonalons, Ribery, Benzema, Menez.
Referee F Brych (Germany).
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