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Olivier Giroud netted a 94th minute equalizer to deny Spain victory in a major qualifying match for the first time since 2007.
Olivier Giroud only touched the ball three times after coming on for France, but finished the match as his side's hero in a 1-1 draw against Spain. It's the first time since September 8, 2007, that Spain has failed to win in World Cup or European Championship qualifying.
Didier Deschamps lined up his team in a very conservative 4-1-4-1 formation, and it appeared to be working wonders early on. Spain stayed patient, but still looked a bit frustrated with the congestion in the middle and the work rate of France's midfielders. They were always going to struggle to score as long as France didn't make massive mistakes, but they got an early gift and took advantage of it.
Sergio Ramos took advantage of some awful set piece marking in the 25th minute, though he needed two chances to do it. He hit an unmarked header off the bar, but France didn't clear their lines. The ball found its way back to Ramos, and he smashed it into the top of the net to put his side up 1-0.
Spain should have been up 2-0 at the half, but Hugo Lloris came up with some massive heroics. Laurent Koscielny gave away a penalty in the 42nd minute when he hacked down Pedro, getting nowhere near the ball, but Lloris knocked away Cesc Fabregas' penalty attempt to keep the deficit at one goal.
Unlike the first half, which was all Spain, the second half was much more even and France actually produced more chances than the hosts. They were repeatedly unlucky and had four very solid chances from the run of play during the half, but couldn't manage to convert any of them. In the 86th minute, a visibly hobbled Karim Benzema had to exit the game for Giroud, who would go on to win the match.
In the 94th minute, France made one last hopeful surge forward. Franck Ribery lofted a mostly hopeful cross into the penalty area, but Giroud timed his jump perfectly and directed an excellent header past Iker Casillas at the far post. It was a gorgeous clinical finish, and a well-deserved equalizer for France, who were the better side in the second half.