Spain defeat France to bolster World Cup hopes

Spain defeat France to bolster World Cup hopes

Spain defeated France in Paris 0-1 to take the lead in their World Cup qualifying Group I. The victory boosts Spanish hopes of automatic qualification for the 2014 finals in Brazil. The winning goal, scored by FC Barcelona winger Pedro, was notched in minute 58 as the player bundled the ball and his entire body over the line in front of despairing French keeper Hugo Loris. The victory seemed deserved after 90 minutes as Spain spurned several clearcut chances, most notably when Xavi fired over the bar when he seemed sure to score in the 5th minute. Both teams went close on occasion after that before Pedro finally broke the deadlock. French defender Paul Pogba was ejected from the match in minute 78 for his second yellow, giving his team no chance of an equalizer.

With three matches remaining, the battle for first place in the group will continue to be tight; the next round of qualifiers will take place in June and September.

Image: Thomas Coex [AFP/Getty]