Saturday's Euro 2012 action features one of the most intriguing matchups of the tournament that could very well prove the winner of the European Championship.
It's no secret that Spain boasts as good of a chance as anyone to be the last team standing in Poland/Ukraine this summer. They've taken home the 2008 Euro and the 2010 World Cup, international football's last two major titles.
On the other hand, we have a French team that no one can quite seem to understand. There was the 2010 World Cup debacle that featured everything from a group-stage knockout to the team refusing to practice in unified fashion, which ensued in public mayhem. Such a performance heartily embarrassed those on French soil as their team crumbled in the worst way on the sport's biggest stage.
Then, they came out and topped their group behind amazing football in this year's Euro, not even needing to win or draw their last match to advance (which, fittingly, they lost 2-0 to Sweden).
As if they haven't had their fair share of internal troubles lately, Tom Williams of AFP reported that a few French players engaged in a "shouting match" after their loss to Sweden on Tuesday.
This is obviously nothing compared to the type of downfall they suffered in 2010, but it has to be awakening some bad memories among those players. They must remember what they left in the past and the work they've put in to advance to the quarterfinals and to put all—well, most—of the bad behind them.
This whole spat has to be behind them immediately if they want to have any chance against the Euro's defending champs, who marvel on playing team football and having all 11 players on the pitch clicking.
You aren't by a TV? Here's where you can catch all of the remaining games online.
Quarterfinals: June 21-24 — Live Stream: ESPN 3
Semifinals: June 27-28 — Live Stream: ESPN 3
Final: July 1, 2:45 p.m. ET — Live Stream: ESPN 3
France must utilize Franck Ribery in order to win this match. He matches up spectacularly against should-be opponent Alvaro Arbeloa, who is arguably Spain's weakest player on the pitch (but that's not saying much).
Ribery is so good at finding space on the outside, where he'll look to huge target Karim Benzema for overall finishing ability on crossing chances.
France must also defer to their stud teammates in the center when the time is right. Samir Nasri has proven himself as possessing one of the deadliest strikes left in the tournament and a good Nasri look from 25 yards may be one of the best chances they get all night.
Obviously, the cards are stacked against France, who look like the weaker team on paper. But not by much. France is one of the only teams in the world capable of winning on this stage, and they'll have to do it all in order to take down the giant Spain.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!