PARIS (AP) — Spain's rebuilding following its shambolic World Cup got off to a bad start, failing even to manage a shot on target as France coasted to a 1-0 win in their friendly on Thursday.
France had an effort from Karim Benzema ruled out for offside early in the second half and scored in the 72nd minute when winger Mathieu Valbuena set up substitute Loic Remy for his sixth international goal.
With all-time leading scorer David Villa among the big names to have retired from international football, Spain looked tame in attack against World Cup quarterfinalist France, which fielded a strong side.
"It's a regeneration process, and that is what we're aspiring to," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said. "You can't always look back in football, and I was pleased with the attitude of the players. It's true we didn't create a clear chance, but we got ourselves into some dangerous positions."
Yet Spain didn't threaten until the 83rd as David Silva's shot drifted just wide.
Breaking into Spain during a sustained period of success which saw it win two European Championships and a World Cup from 2008-2012 was a task in itself, and it is paying the price for heavy reliance on core players.
This was underlined by Raul Garcia making his international debut in midfield at the ripe age of 28, and Athletic Bilbao center half Mikel San Jose making his at 25. Altogether, five Spaniards made their debuts at Stade de France, including Athletic Bilbao defensive midfielder Ander Iturraspe and Valencia forward Paco Alcacer in the second half.
Goalkeeper David de Gea made only his third appearance despite having played for Atletico and Manchester United for five years.
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