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Mar 27, 2013

Deschamps rues missed chances

Didier Deschamps was left to rue France's wastefulness in front of goal as Les Bleus slipped to defeat to Spain and left them trailing La Roja on the road to Brazil 2014.

Pedro's second-half goal was all that separated the two Group I rivals at the Stade de France, and had the hosts taken one of their opportunities, most notably Franck Ribery's one-on-one with Victor Valdes before the break, they may have found themselves still sitting atop the section instead of trailing the reigning world and European champions by a point.

"The most annoying thing is in terms of chances. We had more than them, and it's in that area that we made errors," Deschamps, 44, told the press. "Against such an opponent with so much experience, you have to be clinical and get the rub of the green. That wasn't the case."

He added: "It's no longer in our hands. We've got points to go and pick up, and we'll see what happens. We've got nine points available, and we don't have to play Spain again. But it's certain that the situation in the group before this evening and after it changes a lot of things."

As Deschamps himself remarked, France "managed to be dangerous" even after midfielder Paul Pogba, 20, was sent off 12 minutes from time, pointing to his team's tally of 15 shots to their opponents' ten as proof.

He said: "When Spain have the ball, they often use it well, even if it doesn't always go forward, so they force you to defend. In spite of that, we had more shots than them. Up against us was a team with 700 international appearances, we had only just 300 in total, but we managed to cause them problems despite that."

France's problems largely came down the flanks with both full-backs, Christophe Jallet on the right and Patrice Evra on the left, often in difficulty. The pair had their share of the blame in Spain's winner with Jallet caught out by Nacho Monreal's overlapping run before the Arsenal man's cross found Pedro, who had nipped in ahead of Evra.

"Yes, we had problems down the flanks at times, because this Spain team uses the width well. In a collective display, if I had to pick out individuals, I'd pick out those who performed well rather than the opposite. But there was a lot of quality against us," explained Deschamps, before praising Karim Benzema's display, despite the Real Madrid forward extending his barren run in front of goal at international level to more than 1000 minutes.

"That has been the subject of much debate, unfortunately. It doesn't help him and it doesn't help us. Karim did some good things today, even if he didn't score. But in our build-up play, he contributed some interesting things."

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