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Mar 25, 2013

Evra wants 'arrogance' against Spain

"A little arrogance" is what Patrice Evra believes France require to face up to the challenge posed by Spain on Tuesday and keep Les Bleus ahead of the reigning world and European champions en route to Brazil 2014.

France's 3-1 win over Georgia on Friday and Spain's surprise draw with Finland means Didier Deschamps' men now top Group I, two points clear of La Roja.

Evra, 31, urged his team-mates not to be overawed when they step out at the Stade de France to face a team with which they drew in Madrid in October, but were comprehensively outplayed by in a Euro 2012 quarter-final only last June.

He said: "It's not a final. It's not because we win against Spain or that you draw that we'll be through to the World Cup, that's why I don't like to say it's a final.

"It's a big match, a big occasion. After the first game against them, we have to back that up, while also keeping our feet on the ground. We have to respect Spain, be confident and also have a little arrogance. We're in a good position. The tide is turning our way."

Vicente del Bosque's men arrived at their Paris hotel near the Champs-Elysees on Sunday amid chaotic scenes in the French capital with some 300,000 people demonstrating against proposed laws allowing gay marriage.

Police barricades prevented their team coach dropping the squad off outside the hotel, meaning the players had to ease through a small crowd of supporters gathered to greet them outside the five-star Hotel Bristol, also the temporary abode of David Beckham.

The Spanish squad will be supported by injured goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas, who will jet in to Paris for the game, while Deschamps' men are offering their help to one of their own, Karim Benzema.

Casillas' Real Madrid team-mate was subjected to catcalls and whistles after failing to break his international goalscoring drought of more than 900 minutes against Georgia.

"It's a shame for us, the players, to hear him being whistled at," Blaise Matuidi said, while Yohan Cabaye added: "It's quite a thankless task being a striker because when you don't score, when you get chances and don't put them away, the crowd get on your back. But I have no doubt he'll come through it. We're behind him. He needs to know he has our support."

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