Spain vs France: Key Players to Watch in World Cup Qualifier
The players will have an opportunity to declare their worth in a rematch. The fans will be treated to some of the best possible competition the World Cup qualifying schedule has to offer.
Everyone wins when France takes on Spain in Madrid on Tuesday, at least until the match is over.
The last time these two teams faced each other, a berth to the Euro 2012 semifinals was at stake. Back then, Spain made France one of its many victims en route to the Euro 2012 crown; now, France will take its first step towards avenging it.
Here's a look at the key players in Tuesday's showdown.
Pedro made headlines this week when he declared Spain's current team the best in history, according to Goal.com's Joe Wright, and he and his squad can continue proving it with a resounding win over France on Tuesday.
It's not that Pedro isn't aware that France will present a challenge—he acknowledged that the Blues have plenty of talent on their own roster, according to Wright. But he also believes that they're young.
According to Pedro, it isn't simply talent that makes Spain such a force to be reckoned with, and it isn't simply talent that carried them to the Euro 2012 crown. It's the unique relationships among the players that allows them to communicate—and win—with such authority.
Of course, on the other hand, there's also the chance that the bulletin board material provided by Pedro this week puts a little extra fire in France's collective step.
Franck Ribery (France)
Spain may have been the most formidable team the national football spectrum has had to offer over the last couple of years, but France coach Didier Deschamps believes that it's his side's time to shine. And much of that, he believes, is due to the potential of Franck Ribery, according to ZeeNews.com.
While even Deschamps agrees that this Spain team is the best ever—after all, the facts dictate it, he told ZeeNews—he thinks his own players have what it takes to get history moving in another direction.
Deschamps told ZeeNews:
Everyone always expects a lot from [Ribery and Karim Benzema]. These are great players who can take the team to the top. They have this quality, talent to make a difference.
Iker Casillas (Spain)
Who will be the most important factor in the qualifier?
Casillas is always the wild card, no matter what team Spain takes on, and very few are able to beat him. He, just as much as anyone else on the roster, is what makes Spain such a force to be reckoned with.
In Spain's two most recent World Cup qualifiers, Saint Iker has been perfect—when he's needed to be and when he hasn't needed to be. He was flawless in a 1-0 win over Georgia in which there was no margin for error, and he was flawless in a 4-0 win over Belarus, when there was a bit more leeway.
France could present the toughest competition he has yet to face, and he'll have to handle that competition just as he did in June.
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