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History gives France hope for Spain showdown

Reigning champions Spain must reverse a historical trend if they are to get past quarter-final opponents France – a team they have never beaten in six competitive fixtures.

Michel Platini on the ball in France's 1984 UEFA European Championship final win against Spain
Michel Platini on the ball in France's 1984 UEFA European Championship final win against Spain ©Getty Images

Defending champions Spain must reverse an anomaly of history when they take on France in their UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-final in Donetsk. Spain have never beaten their neighbours in a competitive fixture which holds only unhappy memories for them, not least UEFA European Championship defeats in the 1984 final and then the 2000 quarter-finals, when Laurent Blanc was in the France team.

• Group D runners-up France were the last side to eliminate Spain from a major international tournament – the 2006 FIFA World Cup – and now face Vicente del Bosque's holders, who arrive in Ukraine having finished top of the Polish-based Group C. France played England (1-1) and Ukraine (2-0) in Donetsk in the group stage.

• The winners will play Portugal in the semi-finals, also in Donetsk, on 27 June.

Head-to-head record
• These teams have faced each other on 30 occasions, starting with a friendly meeting in Bordeaux in April 1922 which Spain won 4-0. Overall Spain hold a narrow advantage in the head-to-head stakes with a record of W13 D6 L11.

• Spain have won three of the last four encounters, the exception being France's 3-1 win in the round of 16 of the 2006 World Cup. That result gave France a record of five wins and one draw from competitive fixtures against Spain.

• France beat Spain 3-1 at home and 2-1 away in qualifying for EURO '92. Blanc played in both games, scoring in the first. He was also on the pitch when the countries drew 1-1 in the group stage at EURO '96, José Luis Caminero cancelling out a goal by Youri Djorkaeff.

• The biggest winning margin between the teams came in an 8-1 Spain victory in a friendly in Zaragoza in April 1929 – one of seven Spanish wins from the first eight encounters.

Selected previous meetings
3 March 2010: France 0-2 Spain (Villa 21, Ramos 45) – Stade de France, Saint-Denis, friendly
France: Lloris, Sagna, Escudé, Ciani, Evra, Gourcuff, L Diarra, Toulalan, Ribéry (Malouda 74), Henry (Govou 64), Anelka (Cissé 77).
Spain: Casillas, Ramos, Puyol (Albiol 46), Piqué, Arbeloa; Alonso (Senna 64), Silva (Güiza 81), Busquets, Fàbregas (Xavi 46), Iniesta (Navas 64), Villa (Torres 46).

• Spain prevailed in the countries' most recent encounter, posting their first victory in France since 1968 against Raymond Domenech's hosts.

27 June 2006: Spain 1-3 France (Villa 28pen; Ribéry 41, Vieira 83, Zidane 90+2) – Niedersachsenstadion, Hanover, FIFA World Cup, round of 16
Spain: Casillas, Pablo, Puyol, Ramos, Pernía, Fàbregas, Xavi (Senna 72),  Alonso, Villa (Joaquín 54), Torres, Raúl González (García 54).
France: Barthez, Sagnol, Thuram, Gallas, Abidal, Makelele, Vieira, Ribéry, Zidane, Malouda (Govou 74), Henry (Wiltord 88).

• Spain took the lead through a David Villa penalty but lost their lead to a Franck Ribéry strike and, eventually, the match as late goals from Patrick Vieira and Zinédine Zidane took France a step closer to the Berlin final.

25 June 2000: Spain 1-2 France (Mendieta 38pen; Zidane 32, Djorkaeff 44) – Jan Breydelstadion, Bruges, UEFA EURO 2000, quarter-final
Spain: Cañizares, Salgado, Helguera (Gerard 77), Paco, Aranzabal, Munitis (Etxeberria 73), Guardiola, Abelardo, Mendieta (Urzaiz 57), Alfonso, Raúl González.
France: Barthez, Thuram, Blanc, Desailly, Lizarazu, Deschamps, Vieira, Djorkaeff, Zidane, Dugarry, Henry (Anelka 81).

• A France team featuring Blanc continued their march towards another UEFA European Championship success. The outcome may have been different had Raúl González not sent a late penalty over the bar but goals from Zidane and Djorkaeff were enough to send the then World Cup holders through.

27 June 1984: France 2-0 Spain (Platini 57, Bellone 90) – Parc des Princes, Paris, UEFA European Championship, final
France: Bats, Battiston (Amoros 73), Bossis, Le Roux, Domergue, Tigana, Fernandez, Platini, Giresse, Lacombe (Genghini 80), Bellone.
Spain: Arconada, Urkiaga, Salva (Bonillo 85), Gallego, Julio Alberto (Sarabia 75), Víctor Muñoz, Camacho, Señor, Francisco López, Carrasco, Santillana.

• Michel Platini's record ninth goal of the finals set hosts France on their way to a first major honour, his free-kick squirming through the grasp of Luis Arconada, the Spain goalkeeper and his opposing captain. Arconada picked the ball out of his net once more in the last minute after Bruno Bellone chipped in.

• The teams will meet again in qualifying Group I for the 2014 World Cup, Spain hosting France on 16 October with the reverse fixture on 26 March 2013.

Form guide
• Since their defeat by France at Germany 2006, Spain have lost only three of 46 competitive UEFA European Championship and World Cup fixtures and won 40 of them.

• France were unbeaten in 23 matches before losing to Sweden in their last group fixture. It was the second-longest sequence without defeat in their history.

• France have won only one game in a final tournament since beating Portugal to reach the 2006 World Cup final, against Ukraine on matchday two.

• The last team to beat Spain at a UEFA European Championship was Portugal in 2004, when a late goal from Nuno Gomes cost Iñaki Sáez's team a place in the quarter-finals.

• Spain's record in UEFA European Championship quarter-finals is W2 L5.
1960 Soviet Union (Spain withdrew)
1964 Republic of Ireland 5-1 h, 2-0 a (7-1 agg)
1968 England 0-1 a, 1-2 h (1-3 agg)
1976 West Germany 1-1 h, 0-2 a (1-3 agg)
1996 England 0-0 (2-4 pens)
2000 France 1-2
2008 Italy 0-0 (4-2 pens)

• France's record in UEFA European Championship quarter-finals is W4 L2.
1960 Austria 5-2 h, 4-2 a (9-4 agg)
1964 Hungary 1-3 h, 1-2 a (2-5 agg)
1968 Yugoslavia 1-1 h, 1-5 a (2-6 agg)
1996 Netherlands 0-0 (5-4 pens)
2000 Spain 2-1
2004 Greece 0-1

• There was no quarter-final stage in 1984 when Spain and France met in the final.

Team ties
• Blanc spent one season in Spanish football with FC Barcelona in 1996/97, helping them win the Spanish Super Cup.

• Del Bosque's first European tie as a coach with Real Madrid CF was a 2-1 aggregate defeat by Paris Saint-Germain FC in the 1993/94 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals.

• France's now famous Génération '87 – Samir Nasri, Hatem Ben Arfa and Jérémy Menez, minus unused substitute Karim Benzema – got the better of Spain in the final of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship on 15 May 2004 on home soil in Chateauroux. Nasri secured France's 2-1 success one minute from time after Gerard Piqué had equalised for a Spain side also including Cesc Fàbregas.

• Benzema plays with Iker Casillas, Raúl Albiol, Sergio Ramos, Álvaro Arbeloa and Xabi Alonso at Real Madrid.

• Ramos scored past Olympique Lyonnais goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in a 4-0 UEFA Champions League group stage win with Madrid this season.

• Fernando Torres and Juan Mata were in the Chelsea FC side that triumphed in May's UEFA Champions League final against an FC Bayern München team featuring Ribéry. At Stamford Bridge the Spanish pair are team-mates of Florent Malouda.

• Fernando Llorente and Javi Martínez were in the Athletic Club side that beat Blaise Matuidi's PSG 2-0 in Spain in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Gaël Clichy and Nasri play with David Silva at Manchester City FC. Clichy, Nasri and Laurent Koscielny were team-mates of Fàbregas at Arsenal.

• Adil Rami and Jordi Alba are team-mates at Valencia CF.

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