October 17, 2012 7:19 PM EST
Spain Settle for Draw With France; Giroud Scores Equaliser in the Last Minute [PHOTOS]
Football fans would have concluded that Spain will win the match when the clock struck 93 minutes but that was not meant to be as France found a spectacular equalizer from Olivier Giroud just a few seconds after the three-minute extra time, ensuring 1-1 draw in Group 1 World Cup qualifier match on Wednesday.
Olivier Giroud, who replaced injured Karim Benzema, gave a dramatic end to the game by heading Ribery's cross into Iker Casillas' net after the extra time. The referee blew the final whistle even before Spain could take the kick-off.
Earlier, Sergio Ramos put Spain in the lead 25 minutes into the game by sending the ball high into the net. His header of Xavi Hernsndez's corner kick hit the left post, after which Pedro's cross reached him again even as he was lamenting the header miss. This time, he didn't miss.
Spain dominated the possession but Didier Deschamps' men had their chances of scoring. Jeremy Menez sent the ball into Casillas' net and France supporters erupted in joy but the referee ruled it as offside. Later, Ribery's shot landed just outside the right post.
Spain got the chance to double the lead when Pedro was brought down inside the box by Laurent Koscielny. Cesc Fabregas took the spot kick but Lloris put up a wonderful save, sending the ball off his right post.
Following the draw on Tuesday night, World and European Champions Spain's chances in 2014 World Cup is in jeopardy. They have to win when they travel to the Stade de France in March 2013 to avoid a play-off in order to qualify for the World Cup.
Group I has Georgia, Finland and Belarus besides Spain and France. Only the first place is guaranteed qualification for Brazil 2014. Both Spain and France have seven points each, so their next play in Paris will be crucial.