Spain v France
Donbass Arena, Donetsk
June 23 2012; 19:45
Vicente del Bosque faces a tough decision in choosing between Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres to lead the line for Spain tonight, with Torres likely to get the nod once more.
For France, Phillippe Mexes is suspended and will be replaced by Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny.
Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery are expected to be fit having picked up knocks in their final group D game against Sweden, while Yohan Cabaye is also expected to start.
Del Bosque wary of Benzema threat
Spain manager Vicente del Bosque has warned his side not to underestimate the threat posed by France in their Euro 2012 Quarter Final showdown tonight, and picked out Karim Benzema as their opponent's most potent weapon.
Benzema has endured a frustrating tournament so far despite some impressive performances, with the Real Madrid man failing to find the back of the net despite having 17 shots on goal, a Euro 2012 record.
Spain are favourites for tonight’s game in Donetsk having topped Group C, while France go into the game on the back of a 2-0 defeat against Sweden, which prompted a dressing room bust-up between members of Laurent Blanc’s squad.
Del Bosque’s men are looking to become the first team ever to win three consecutive international tournaments, but he insists Spain cannot go into the game underestimating France and Benzema’s capabilities.
"Benzema is dangerous as he had a great season the Real Madrid. He is very reliable in front of goal, but he is also very involved in the game as he wins back possession a lot," he told France Football.
"Then there is Cabaye, who is, in my opinion, an important man in the French system. He starts his team's attacks, but he is also clever in front of goal, as we saw in the game against Ukraine."
Much has been made of the fact that Spain have never triumphed over France in a competitive fixture this week, and Del Bosque is keen to rectify that statistic.
"The facts speak for themselves, we are world and European champions and this motivates us, but it also motivates our adversaries,” he commented.
"The fact that France have always been superior to us in official matches is an added motivation for us. We will see if we will be able to defy the past."
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