France had a great chance to extend their lead over Spain in the World Cup qualifying group to a position where they could have almost sealed World Cup qualification automatically by finishing the first position. They came into the recent match between the two teams two points ahead of the world champions. However, they suffered a 1-0 defeat at home due to a goal from Barcelona midfielder Pedro. This result now means that it is France who now have the possibility of reaching the World Cup only through the play-offs position.
It certainly will not be easy because there are several good teams expected to be at this stage of the qualification. Deschamps said after the match that he believed that France had several opportunities to win the match. However, he can only rue the missed opportunities now. Manchester United defender Patrice Evra had a great opportunity to equalise the match, but his shot was kept out by Barcelona’s Victor Valdes. France dominated the match in the final few minutes despite having just 10 men on the pitch. Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba was sent off in the encounter.
“There were situations that were unfavourable, but we had opportunities, even 10. We do not blush. It could have happened differently. We did see beautiful things. Spain is still Spain. We battled and they were not alone, even when we were [down to] 10,” said the former Marseille manager. As a result of this defeat, France have dropped into the second position one point behind leaders Spain. The next World Cup qualifying matches for Spain will not be until the start of next season when they take on Georgia.
The manager refused to criticise the Juventus midfielder for his red card. He also defended the recent record of the Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema.