Pedro's second-half goal gave Spain a deserved victory against France
Peep! Peep! Peep! That's it. Spain go top of Group I, a point ahead of France. It wasn't a classic, but Spain deserved their victory. France had their chances mind, even when they went down to 10-men. Anyway, that's it from me. We hope you enjoyed our live stream and thanks for your emails. Best, Sean
90+2 min Giroud is on for France, while Mata has replaced Iniesta.
90+1 min France are desperately trying to win the ball back here, and when Koscielny overpresses Spain suddenly have a three-on-two. But Busquets is crowded out just when he was lining up a shot. Nearly two there ...
90 min We'll have three minutes of added time.
88 min France are continuing to take the game to Spain - or at least they were, but then Ribery played it straight to Arbeloa. “Pedro took his goal well, but he shouldn’t have been on the pitch!”, writes Tom Paternoster, “He should have been booked for his obvious dive in the first half & booked again for his studs-up knee-high assault on Ribéry just 3 minutes earlier. Not that I’m biased or anything.”
87 min France have been excellent since going down to 10 men ... will they get one more chance to equalise?
85 min France win a free-kick in a dangerous position on the corner of the penalty box after Arbeloa needlessly brings down Menez. The cross comes in, Evra gets something on it and Valdez expertly tips it wide ... although the referee blows for offside.
84 min France are continuing to press. They couldn't, could they? "I'm drinking nothing stronger than coffee," says Matt Dony. "Caffeine counter-acts the soporific effect of Spain's midfield. Even with zero alcohol to cloud my judgement, though, I've just sent a text that was meant for my wife to my sister. What an eejit."
83 min Nearly the equaliser from Ribery! Sissoko muscles his way through Spain's midfielder, before slipping it to Ribery on the left. He cuts in, befuddling to defenders before, just outside the box, lashing a shot which flies this much past the post.
81 min Iniesta cuts inside and feeds Xabi, who swipes it high over the bar. Meanwhile Benzema leaves the pitch to catty boos and is replaced by Sissokko.
80 min The French are still going for it with 10 men ... they must be ripe for the counterattack. For the merest moment it looked like Navas was in there, but Koscielny had the pace to see off the danger. Meanwhile Montenegro have just equalised against England ...
78 min He's just picked up his second yellow card in a minute! There was no doubt he deserved it: he over-reached with his tackle and stamped on Xavi's boot.
77 min Yellow card for Paul Pogba, who knees Xabi Alonso in the back of his neck. He must have been six or seven feet off the ground there.
76 min Spain sub: Pedro off, Fabregas on. He'll be playing as a centre forward/false nine.
75 min What a chance for Varane! Valdes stuttered and hesitated and hung about in no man's land as a France cross came over, it dropped to Varane at the back post, three or four yards out, but he stabbed it wide.
74 min France win a corner but it Benzema's loopy header drops over the bar. Meanwhile more beer talk. "Achel Trappist is definitely not from Holland but from the Belgian town of (you guessed it) Achel," says Willem van Shaik. "The only Dutch Trappist beer is La Trappe, which I am sorry to say is slightly inferior to the Belgian trappist beers."
71 min Another superb pass from Xavi to Navas, but Koscielny is quick to the danger. Spain look more likely to score a second than France to equalise.
70 min France sub: Menez on, Cabaye off. "Not to be pedantic, but I believe Achel is Belgian and Koningshoeven is the Trappist brewery based in Holland," says Adam Large. "As for myself, I tend to read the MBMs while at work (and they're a life saver) so no beer for me. When I have the opportunity though, it's Founder's Breakfast Stout every time."
69 min ... and clatters it into the wall.
68 min: Matiudi is booked - he'll now miss France's game against Georgia in September too. Spain have a free-kick 25 yards and central. Xavi lines up to take it ...
67 min After being a fairly conventional Spain/Barcelona v everyone else sort of game for the first hour, it's started to open up. You suspect this might favour the Spaniards more in the minutes ahead ...
65 min ... Immediately France go up the other end and Valdes has to get down smartly to save from Benzema. Meanwhile more comments on this Spain kit ...
64 min Navas, who has just come on for Villa (with Pedro moving into the centre) nearly set up a second there for Spain and Pedro - only for the latter to smash it over the bar ...
62 min The Spain fans are signing: Campeones, campeones, ole, ole, ole! France are going to have to come at the Spanish now ...
60 min Monreal, who has had an excellent game, found space down the left and was found with a featherlight pass from Xavi. He brought it in the area and skimmed a cross-shot towards Pedro. Under pressure the Spaniard got something on the ball to direct it towards goal and Lloris, falling backwards, could only palm it into the net.
Spain are ahead! Pedro bundles home from close range! Cue ecstatic scenes!
58 min A long free-kick is headed wide from 12 yards by Benzema, whose head then clatters into Busquets. The Spaniard is still rubbing his skull ...
57 min Superb stuff from Pogba, who takes the ball off Iniesta with the ease of the school bully picking pocket money off a kid with glasses, before he jinks inside and is brought down by Xabi.
55 min Save from Lloris, who tips Iniesta's toe-poke over the bar! Without sounding overly harsh on Iniesta, who is a wonderful player, he perhaps hit that a little too close to the French keeper there. Spain are beginning to apply the squeeze ...
54 min Cabaye is booked, and will miss France's next qualifier away against Georgia, after a foul and a dismissive gesture at the referee.
53 min David Villa goes down under the mildest contact from Koscielny but there's little suggestion of a foul. "I've gone for a Achel Trappist, the only Trappist Beer from Holland," writes Steve from Antwerp. "A refreshing 8%. No particular reason as I'm watching England with one eye and France with the other on mbm … I should be watching Belgium on the TV but apparently it's needed for Parade's End." Is everyone reading this enjoying a tipple?
51 min After good hustling from Ribery, Evra wins a corner. Valdes can only paw at the cross when it eventually comes over but when the ball drops loose Benzema skies it. Cue cries of 'Giroud! Giroud!'
49 min Valbuena goes down in the box but, apart from a sporadic boo or two, few believe it was a penalty. Meanwhile Monreal enjoys more success down the left before pulling it back to Xavi, whose first touch deserts him ...
47 min And so the familiar pattern returns: Spain probing, France sitting and looking to counter. More reflections on Spain's kit. "It's art, Simon Frank (15th minute), and you're clearly not hip enough to understand it," suggests Matt Dony. "In two years' time, you'll be wearing a silly deep v-neck with the wrong number on your back, and Spain will be blazing another trail. Probably playing with no defenders, or something."
46 min: Spain are out bright and early and, after France eventually trot out, the game kicks off again. Meanwhile Phil Colis writes in: "Wigan v Stoke? Accompanied by Hemlock, I would think." Harsh Phil. Harsh.
Peep! Peep! The referee declines to play any additional minutes so the team's enter the break level. Spain had the majority of the play but France, arguably, had at least as many decent chances. And Benzema and Ribery certainly should have done better. I'll be back in a bit.
43 min There's a short delay as Cabaye goes down after a challenge by Monreal.
40 min A better spell this for France but, having won a free-kick in a dangerous position, Valbuena's free-kick is poor. "I'm having a Michelada," says Bronwyn Jones. "Going out to La Esquina in NY for Mexican straight after and have to get in the mood. Sartorially, I think the Spanish have too many stripes."
38 min What a save from Valdez! What a miss from Ribery! The Frenchman controlled a throughball exquisitely on his head and raced towards Valdez's goal; but his second touch was a little heavy and Spain's keeper was able to smother.
35 min Another quarter-chance for Spain. Ribery back-headers it towards his own goal, Evra miscontrols and Villa has a tight chance on the angle. But his shot is screwed wide. Meanwhile Simon McMahon writes: "Serbia - Scotland (in fact, any match involving Scotland) should be accompanied by industrial quantities of Buckfast, cooking lager, whisky and .. actually, anything that would dull the pain. I'm not fussy. Just make it go away, please." Other games are available, SImon ...
33 min See minute 21.
32 min A Spanish player was booked in the melee following Pedro's dive there. I couldn't see who, sorry. Meanwhile Russell Brady writes: "Spain's kit is the dead spit of Melchester Rovers' togs circa 1968. This makes David Villa a latter-day Roy Race while Xavi is Blackie Gray."
30 min: My live stream is still jumping every few seconds, making it quite hard to tell what is going on. But I could certainly see that Spain had a huge penalty appeal there: Pedro had a one-on-one with Lloris, took it past him but, in my opinion Pedro dived before he was clipped by Lloris. The referee didn't buy it either ...
27 min Spain are still trying to play through the lines with intermittent success. "I'm drinking a robust Corbieres," says Phillipa Booth. "The name used to make me a bit nervous, but then that Findus lasagne story broke, so it seems less weird now."
25 min Nice stuff from Pogba who holds onto the ball under pressure before finding Valbuena. Spain are having the better of this, but now and again France show their teeth ...
23 min Typically inventive and intricate stuff from Spain ends with Busquets trundler from just outside the box being easily saved by Lloris.
21 min Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass.
19 min Villa gets in behind Koscielny but the assistant referee's flag is fluttering. Offside. Meanwhile Nigel in Toronto writes: "As for wine, I am finishing off a bottle of Domaine Rotier (2009) with some wonderfully ripe French triple creme. (Not imply that I've been drinking for hours; there was a glass left over from last night's dinner.)" Sure Nigel ...
17 min Spain are trying to pick their way through one bank of four and another of five and they nearly did so there: Xavi slipped into space, 20 yards out, but his scuttler went wide of the post.
15 min Meanwhile Simon Frank writes: "Sartorial news: that Spain kit is gruesome. I haven't seen a deeper v-neck since I started primary school in 1976. Why does Xavi play 8 and Iniesta 6 for Spain, when it's the reverse at Barça?" No idea Simon. Anyone else?
13 min Remember Milan's strategy at home to Barcelona in the Champions League a few weeks ago? Well, France's is not entirely dissimilar. Now clearly they are on the back foot. They are going to be. This is Spain after all. But every so often Ribery and Jallet are breaking to support Benzema ... and just as I type Jallet speeds down the right to set up Benzema, who should have done better.
11 min My live stream continues to be a bit stop-start. Apologies if you're having problems watching too. In the late 80s I remember borrowing films like Kickboxer 1 and, er, Kickboxer 2 from friends at school which may not have been entirely legitimate. The pictures tonight remind me a bit of that.
9 min ... That said, France aren't parking the bus. And Pique has to be quick to intercept when Benzema starts thundering down the right
6 min Spain's carousel is starting to whirl; they're beginning to tease and probe ...
4 min What a miss from Xavi! Monreal galloped down the left to latch onto Iniesta's throughball, squared it to Xavi, eight yards out, and he smashed it over. Huge chance that for Spain. Meanwhile Peter McElduff writes regarding that whiny post on Sid Lowe's blog: "That Yalumba bush vine Grenache is excellent however. Tenner from Majestic. Don't fight the stereotype." So what wine would people drink to accompany a mbm or live stream of Montenegro v England? Bolivia v Argentina? Wigan v Stoke?
1 min We're off. Spain wearing all-red, France in all blue. Am I the only one whose live feed is as jittery as someone who has just downed five straight cans of Red Bull?
... the Spanish one is observed impeccably, while the Marseillaise is sung with the gusto of someone who has downed a bottle of Bordeaux and wants the world to know it.
... is now live, for those of you who've been asking when it would be beamed out to the world (or rather Britain and Ireland). Meanwhile Rai Skrupskis emails to say: "Your intro you forgot to include 'bona nit' for all the Catalans who support Spain...eh? Oh." Ah.
An email from Phil Podolsky. "Thing is, that Giroud goal was no suckerpunch - France were the better side in the second half and perhaps should have won it (Spain did miss out on a chance to get a two-goal cushion when Fabregas wasted a penalty late in the first period). It was the perfect demonstration why Del Bosque has repeatedly insisted on playing both Busquets and Alonso, the latter a crucial absence without whom they were outran in midfield towards the end. This pairing of holding colossi is integral to Spain's unplayablity."
That's a fair point Phil: I was referring to the time of Giroud's goal rather than the game itself. Personally thought Spain were the better team, but France did come into it more as the match went on.
... and they are as expected: for France Valbuena keeps his place with Benzema leading the line, while for Spain Monreal starts in place of Alba, and Villa is picked as an actual No9 rather than Fabregas as a false No9.
... to everyone in the UK and Ireland (Apologies in advance if you're among the 60% of our readership who live elsewhere). Not that this getting something for free malarkey pleases everyone. The following comment was posted in Sid Lowe's blog earlier:
Good god the guardian is broadcasting France v Spain of course. For the more cultural football follower. Watch it tonight live from 8pm with a box of Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache. Five best new Ukranian indie bands 2013 is showing at half-time.
Do people really have nothing better to do than complain about something they don't have to watch or pay for? It's baffling, to me at any rate.
But what of France? Like a striking French driver, most expect them to park the bus for long periods tonight. As their manager Didier Deschamps admits: "It is going to be like in the first game. I think it's useless to fight for possession with this team. But I can't prepare for the match telling the guys 'let's defend, let's defend' even if Spain put you in such a position." That said, France have their weapons. Franck Ribery is in decent nick while Mathieu Valbuena scored against Georgia and supplied two assists. One worry will be the lack of goals from Karim Benzema, who has scored just three times in his last 23 appearances in a France shirt.
The Guardian's Sid Lowe is always required reading on all-matters Spain, and his blog on tonight's game is no different.
"This country is bipolar," Gerard Piqué told Lu Martín in El País on Tuesday morning. "People were asking if we should be more direct, if we should cross more, shoot more, and you think: have people not understood that it is playing this way that we have won everything? We have spent six or seven years winning in a way that people enjoy, having 70% of possession, generating chances: why would we change that because we have drawn a game? The world wants to play like Spain and we want to change styles? Incredible."
"Football," added Sergio Ramos, "has no memory."
As Sid points out, it is some crisis: Spain have won 22 of their last 24 qualifying games and are the reigning European and world champions ...
Good evening, bon soir, buenas noches ... and, as my colleague James Richardson would say, woof. Forget Montenegro v England, Bolivia v Argentina or Estonia v Andorra: this is the biggest international game of the week. Spain travel to Paris on the back of two 1-1 draws - following a late suckerpunch from France's Olivier Giroud last October and another mugging at home to Finland last Saturday - and their prospects for Rio 2014 are currently as rosy as an English garden in January.
Still, it's early days. And, crucially, Vicente Del Bosque's side, who lie two points behind France in Group I, still have matters in their own hands. Win tonight and all is good again. Lose or draw and Spain look certain to face an annoying detour via the playoffs in order to reach Rio 2014 - where, who knows, England or Portugal may lie in wait.