France will welcome Spain to the Stade de France for an intriguing friendly on 28 March – a few days after the teams play Luxembourg and Israel in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying.
*Les Bleus *head Group A, three points clear of the Netherlands and Spain. *La Roja *are first in Group G, above Italy on goal difference and Israel by a point.
The Stade de France was inaugurated in January 1998 with a friendly between France and Spain. Zinedine Zidane netted the only goal after Andoni Zubizarreta failed to hold a fizzing Youri Djorkaeff strike, with now Bleu coach Didier Deschamps facilitating it with a finely-executed pass. Six months later Zidane headed two goals in the same stadium as France downed Brazil 3-0 in the World Cup Final.
Both teams have had periods of dominance in the fixture. France went unbeaten in it between 1983 and 2000, winning six of eight. Spain won four and drew one of five meetings between 2008 and ’13.
In the Brazil 2014 preliminaries, a last-gasp Olivier Giroud equaliser earned France a point in Madrid, but Pedro’s unanswered goal at the Stade de France ultimately helped Spain finish top of Group I and send their opponents into the playoffs, where they overcame a 2-0 first-leg loss to edge Ukraine.
The sides have met once in the World Cup. David Villa fired Spain ahead from the spot in the Round of 16 at Germany 2006, but goals from Franck Ribery, Patrick Vieira and Zidane earned France a 3-1 success.