Spain overcome injuries to score friendly win against France

Society Materials 7 February 2008 02:12 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- Spain warmed up for this summer's Euro 2008 finals in fine style on Wednesday, beating neighbours France 1-0 in a high-profile friendly staged in the southern port of Malaga.

The only goal was put away 11 minutes from time by Deportivo Coruna defender Joan Capdevila .

France only looked dangerous when youngster Karim Benzema came off the bench at the end.

Spain did well to win in spite of injuries suffered during the game by striker Fernando Torres and right-back Angel Lopez.

In addition, Barcelona's 17 year-old Bojan Krkic missed the match - in which he was all set to become Spain's youngest ever debutant - with an untimely bout of gastro- entiritis .

Both teams surprised the near-capacity crowd with their change strips. The hosts took the field in an insipid yellow outfit, France wore a red shirt identical to that traditionally worn by Spain.

The first half was lively but sterile, with some precise passing in midfield but without profundity in attack.

The game started to come to life in the 55th minute, when David Villa - on for the injured Torres - hit the French post with a handsome free-kick.

The goal which rewarded Spain for their persistent attacks came in the 79th minute.

A short corner led to Andres Iniesta shooting from outside the box. His powerful drive was headed off the line by Lassana Diarra , only for a grateful Capdevila to put away the rebound from close range.

The goal conceded spurred France into belated life. In the 89th minute Benzema headed onto the Spanish crossbar, then Thierry Henry surprisingly headed the rebound wide.

Two minutes into injury time Henry had another good chance to level for France, but his low drive was well saved by Iker Casillas , who had been a spectator for most of the match.

"It's very good for us to beat a team as important as France", Capdevila told Television Espanola at the end.

"I hope that this win gives us some morale and calm," he added, in reference to the perennial resignation threats of veteran national manager Luis Aragones .

Spain's next match will be against world champions Italy, in Elche on March 26.