Spain vs France: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info for 2014 World Cup Qualifier

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2012

DONETSK, UKRAINE - JUNE 23: Franck Ribery of France and Xabi Alonso of Spain challenge for the ball during the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter final match between Spain and France at Donbass Arena on June 23, 2012 in Donetsk, Ukraine.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Martin Rose/Getty Images

Spain and France will battle in the best head-to-head matchup of 2014 World Cup qualifying on Tuesday when the two footballing powers meet at the Vicente Calderon in Madrid.

Both teams are looking to qualify for the World Cup by finishing in the top two of Group I, which is where these two teams find themselves at the moment with six points from the first two matches.

After a narrow 1-0 victory over Georgia in their first qualifying match, Spain defeated Belarus 4-0 on Friday thanks to a marvelous hat trick by Barcelona winger Pedro.

France has opened qualifying quite well with a 3-1 win versus Belarus and a 1-0 victory over Finland, and is certainly capable of upsetting Spain on Tuesday.

These two teams met in the quarterfinals of Euro 2012 earlier this year, and even though France played poorly, it was only trailing 1-0 until the final minutes of the match when Spain converted a penalty to seal a 2-0 win.

This should be a highly competitive match that will likely include plenty of goals. Let's look at everything you need to watch this great World Cup qualifying matchup.

 

When: Tuesday, October 16 at 3:00 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN2

Live Stream: ESPN3

Where: Vicente Calderon, Madrid, Spain

 

Most Important Player to Watch

Franck Ribery has been in fine form for France and his club Bayern Munich in the early part of the 2012-13 season, and is the key to a France victory versus Spain.

He can excel as a wing player or a central midfielder, and will be relied on to score goals and create chances for teammates. Ribery is one of the quickest players in the world, and a huge threat on the counterattack.

Ribery and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema are the team's two best players, and need to be in sync against Spain. These two attacking stars have to play well or France will not take three points from Spain.

Without centre-back Carles Puyol, who is nursing an arm injury, Spain doesn't have an ideal amount of depth in the center of defense. This means Ribery must attack the heart of the Spanish back four to create goal-scoring opportunities.

Expect Ribery to play a major role in France's attack once again, and give Spanish defenders trouble in the attacking third.

 

Key Matchup: Midfield

We all know Spain's plethora of depth and talent in the midfield is what makes it so tough to defeat, and for France to win, it must win the midfield battle.

Ribery and defensive specialist Etienne Capoue will have to pressure the ball and make players such as Xavi work hard to retain possession. To win the battle of the midfield, France will have to work just as hard without the ball as it does when it has possession.

The French cannot win this game if Spain dominates possession more than usual because if it does, France won't create enough scoring opportunities.

France's midfielders need a strong defensive performance to give their team a chance for victory.

 

What They're Saying

After an injury scare this past week, French manager Didier Deschamps has confirmed that Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny does not have a serious injury (via Julien Laurens of Le Parisien).

Deschamps: "Koscielny is feeling well. He will play tomorrow. It looked very worrying yesterday but thanksfully, he is ok" #bleus

— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) October 11, 2012

If he's healthy enough to play, expect Koscielny to start at centre-back versus Spain.

Spanish star Cesc Fabregas recently spoke to AS (via Goal.com) about the upcoming match versus France.

We need to carry on doing that. We're going well, but we know we're playing our main rivals in the group [France] next and that they have a great team. We had a difficult time of it getting past them in the European quarter-finals. We need to follow our style of play to beat them.

 

Prediction

France defeats Spain 2-1 in an exciting upset.