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Spain vs. France: Heroes And Goats From Epic World Cup Qualifier

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 16:  Fernando Torres (C) of Spain duels for the ball with Patrice Evra (L) and Blaise Matuidi of France during the FIFA 2014 Group I World Cup Qualifier game between Spain and France at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on October 16, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIOctober 17, 2012

Spain had its 24-match win streak in World Cup Qualifying competition by a persistent French team. France battled and took advantage of some extra time to score a match-tying goal that earned the team a point in the World Cup standings.

Both sides are now tied atop the Group I standings with seven points.

Even though the match ended in a draw, this has to give the world confidence when facing the Spanish juggernaut. In addition to their streak in World Cup qualifiers, they are coming off a victorious run in Euro 2012, and they are favorites to take the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil.

This at least proves teams can compete with them. 

Who is to blame or celebrate in this win? Here are the heroes and goats for this epic match.

 

Heroes

Olivier Giroud

This is an obvious choice. It was his header that knotted the score at 1. He took the nicely placed pass from Franck Ribery, and deposited the ball in the net beyond Iker Casillas.

Giroud had been a non-factor up to this point, but his goal may have changed the outlook on the World Cup.

 

Karim Benzema

Even though he missed a point blank opportunity to tie the match, his constant pressure must be recognized. He created opportunities for others with his aggressiveness, and he played at his traditionally torrid pace.

 

Goats

Francisco Juanfran

There is only one goat in this match. Casillas did allow the match-tying goal, but it was Francisco Juanfran's turnover that sprung Ribery and thus led to Giroud's goal. France is a quality side, so Spain—nor any other side—can hope to pull away from them.

In these types of crucial matches, the little things can be the difference. Thus, Juanfran's error cost his team valuable points in the standings.

 

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