Warsaw: The 2008 champions come into their quarter-final after a disappointing performance in the 1-0 victory over Croatia, although that win helped Vicente del Bosque’s side to claim top spot in Group C.
The Spaniards have several players currently walking a suspension tightrope, with Alvaro Arbeloa, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Javi Martinez all one booking away from missing a semi-final clash with Portugal should they advance. The big selection decision will be whether Torres will continue in attack, or whether Del Bosque will utilise a false nine once again.
France lost their final group match against Sweden, which led to England winning the section and Laurent Blanc’s side having to settle for second place.
Les Bleus will be without the services of defender Philippe Mexes after the AC Milan centre-half picked up his second yellow card of the tournament in the defeat to Sweden. Laurent Koscielny should deputise in his absence.
The French also have doubts over Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery, who both missed training on Wednesday, but are expected to make the match, while Yohan Cabaye may be excluded after sitting out the last group game with a thigh problem. Jeremy Menez, omitted from the loss to Sweden, could return to the starting XI.
Some important facts:
Spain: Casillas, Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Alba Busquets, Alonso, Iniesta, Xavi, Silva, Torres
France: Debuchy, Koscielny, Rami, Clichy, Cabaye, M`Vila, Menez, Nasri, Ribery, Benzema
I was very emotional on the podium and I broke down into tears because this was my first Asian Games after missing the two previous Asian Games, partly because of a doping allegation in 2006 when I was innocent.