France comes back to beat Spain 3-1 in World Cup

France scored two late goals Tuesday to give the 1998 champions a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals with a 3-1 win over Spain.

David Villa had scored from the penalty spot in the 27th minute to give Spain the lead before Franck Ribery ran around goalkeeper Iker Casillas to equalize with a left-foot shot in the 41st.

Patrick Vieira made it 2-1 in the 83rd minute and Zinedine Zidane scored the third in injury time.

France will face Brazil in the quarterfinals on Saturday in Frankfurt. Brazil beat Ghana 3-0 earlier Tuesday.

Zidane, who will retire after the World Cup ends, took the free kick which made the difference.

His shot curled into the goalmouth, where a frantic Xabi Alonso headed it into the path of Vieira, who then headed it into the net off a deflection.

France defender Lilian Thuram conceded the early penalty with a push from behind on defender Pablo Ibanez. Villa's goal was his third of the tournament.

The game turned France's way in the 41st. Vieira sent Frank Ribery into open space and the Marseille winger swept the ball past Casillas with his right foot and slotted it home with his left, just ahead of two onrushing defenders.

The third goal came on a counterattack as Spain was pressing for an equalizer. Zidane got into the area, cut inside Spain defender Carles Puyol and scored with a low right-foot shot.

There would always be an edge to this old rivalry between neighbors, but the relentless whistling by Spanish fans during the Marseillaisse upped the ante even more.

France had never lost a competitive match to Spain and Tuesday marked the 22nd anniversary of its 2-0 defeat of Spain to win the 1984 European Championship.

The early nervousness in the match showed what was at stake. France wanted to prove its aging stars could still win while Spain was looking to end 76 years of World Cup futility.

Zidane made the difference in midfield with several slick moves, still as good as a decade ago. With vision and precision, he set Henry free on the right, and his low cross was inexplicably missed by both Ribery and Vieira.

The former Real Madrid midfielder still weaved his old magic, with his unique mix of apparent nonchalance and lethal passing, reports AP.

O.Ch.